- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2003

Enemies everywhere
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge certainly has his work cut out for him as he begins his first full week as secretary of Homeland Security.
For the terrorists, it seems, are restless.
On Friday, near Barcelona, Spain, authorities arrested 16 persons linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. Spanish authorities said the 16, mostly Algerian men in radio contact with Islamist extremists around the world, were preparing to launch chemical attacks on unspecified targets, given the stash of chemicals and resins, bomb components, detonators and remote controls that were recovered.
That same day, authorities in Italy raided the homes of three Muslims, having already arrested five Moroccans in the country for possessing explosives and detailed maps marking the way to a NATO installation.
Then, one of Saddam Hussein's offspring goes on television to repeat the sensational sound bite that if Iraq is invaded, September 11 will resemble a "picnic."
Meanwhile, in the midst of all this, Capitol Hill's senators are debating a bill to restore funding for International Military Education and Training programs in Indonesia, home of the world's largest Muslim population. One senator after another voiced concern over evidence that members of the Indonesian National Army Force were behind one of that country's more recent terrorist attacks that killed and injured several Americans less than a half-mile from an Indonesian military outpost.
Come to think of it, said Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat, he and Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens had traveled to Asia last year.
"We visited Indonesia," he said, "where they had just brought into custody a Muslim cleric who was quoted as having said 'Osama bin Laden is a lightweight.'#"
As Mr. Ridge well knows, it will be difficult in this war on terrorism, in protecting our homeland, to distinguish the good guys from the bad. Even in this country.
Last week we wrote about Elmo Johnson, a World War II veteran from Wisconsin who has played the trumpet since age 11. Since returning home from World War II, Mr. Johnson has blown the last bugle call at funerals of more than 950 Wisconsin veterans. His goal is 1,000 farewells.
No sooner did our item appear then a letter arrived from Air Force Master Sgt. Jari Villanueva, a member of the U.S. Air Force Band and the country's foremost authority on taps. He's the guy you hear sounding taps at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, not to mention at countless military funerals.
"Can you help me?" he asks. "I am interviewed from time to time on the subject and there seems to be a question whether Taps should be capitalized or even in quotations. I sure would appreciate guidance on this because there are editors who insist on writing it as 'taps' like what a beer barrel or water system would have.
"It is a musical composition (even though a short one) and should receive a proper title," the bugler insists. "It is also a military honor that should be treated as such. Like 'The Star-Spangled Banner' or 'Hail To The Chief.'#"
You make a good point, sir.
"I also notice that most writers report that Taps is 'played.' To be correct, it should be noted that bugle (or trumpet) calls are 'sounded': 'He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat,' or 'The Trumpet Shall Sound,' from Handel's 'Messiah.'#"
Sgt. Villanueva asked if we wouldn't mind consulting our Associated Press Stylebook, but unfortunately it does not list 'taps' among those words to capitalize. We opened our Webster's New World Dictionary, and Merriam-Webster Dictionary, but both spell taps (the name is derived from tapping a drum, as taps was originally a drum signal) in the lower case.
That said, Inside the Beltway is happy to join Sgt. Villanueva in calling on Congress to introduce legislation that awards taps the name recognition it deserves.
The way this column looks at it, if Led Zeppelin can capitalize "Stairway to Heaven," why can't the sergeant and fellow military buglers capitalize taps?
Double duty
By day, he protects elected officials. By night, he becomes one.
U.S. Capitol Police Officer William C. "Bill" Cleveland, who happens to be vice mayor of Alexandria, will start his campaign Sunday to become the city's first Republican mayor in 130 years. He would also become Alexandria's first black mayor. The election is May 6.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide