A bugler playing the above ritual in the military at the end of a day and at a funeral for an honored veteran is an American tradition but was not originated in our country.
The British in the seventeenth century borrowed from the Dutch army the custom of sounding a drum and bugle to inform soldiers that it was time to quit socializing and to retire to their quarters for the night.
This Dutch custom was called “tap toe” meaning “shut off the taps” and its abbreviation of “taps” became a signal for bar operators to turn off the spigots on their beer and wine casks and to discontinue serving military personnel.
After barracks lights were turned out the playing of taps signals that the soldiers are safely at home which is also the intended message for “taps” being performed at funerals.
(Excerpts from “The Little Book of Answers” – Author – Doug Lennox – (2003) – MJF Books – New York, NY 1001.)