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The author of the Aug. 30 article on military music (“For military music, a huge ‘band’ of brothers”) discussed his views that maybe they should cut back on the amount of band personnel in the military to save money. I’m glad he is not in a position to arbitrarily pick which military occupational specialties should be cut first. Maybe the author never actually did anything in the military where the band was around. Also, maybe he should look at what military bands have meant to the troops over the years.

I’ve been a member of the 133d Army Band of the Washington National Guard on Camp Murray since 2002 (although I’m currently inactive while on deployment with my civilian company in Iraq). Military musicians have been part of the tradition of the U.S. Army since the very beginning of our country as a way to promote esprit de corps for the troops. In reading Civil War history, you will be surprised at the amount of musicians who earned the Medal of Honor because of their valor in picking up the colors when the bearer had fallen. The bugler was the one military member who told everyone else in camp when to get up, eat chow, salute the flag and when to go to sleep.

Ask a veteran from the Greatest Generation if we should have not had any military musicians such as Glenn Miller entertain the troops. Over the past two decades, ask any spouse who attended any welcome home ceremony if the band that was present to play music detracted from the emotion of waiting for loved ones. Ask any post commanding general if he should cut “his” band and see what answer you will get when he cannot have music at his change of command ceremonies.

As there are many military musician positions that are authorized, many bands cannot fill their ranks with every instrument that is needed for their missions today. We are at a shortage of available buglers to make it to every veteran’s and current servicemember’s funeral. Take away the playing of taps from a live bugler and many families find the service to be wanting. Take away the music from the military and you may find that ceremonies will be bland and troops who are deployed will be lacking even more entertainment to take their mind off of the stress of a normal workday.

There are many ways to cut back the cost of running the military besides randomly picking out a certain soldier’s job without weighing the benefits that his job provides to the military and communities around the country. When you start with a position that has been around since the beginning, no one’s job will be safe from then on out.

Sgt. 1st Class Jared Beck

Camp Murray, Wash.

Don’t be afraid to seek help

On Aug. 17, 2004, my unit finished a mission and we were headed to Kirkuk, Iraq. I was driving when I hit an improvised explosive device. My leg was severely injured during the blast.

After eight months of treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, my family and I made the decision to amputate my leg. After the surgery, I felt like I wasn’t the same person. I wondered how I would walk or support my family. I thought about taking my life. I felt like I couldn’t live like that, but I knew those dark thoughts weren’t me. I knew I needed to talk to someone, so I reached out for support.

I thought about all the things that were bothering me, and I talked about them. I realized that my life wasn’t over and I could conquer my challenges.

As servicemembers, veterans and military families cope with their own physical and psychological challenges, I want them to know that they’re not alone.

I built a support system, and others going through similar experiences can too.

Reach out to your church, your family, veterans centers, and other servicemembers. Visit www.realwarriors.net to talk with health consultants using Live Chat and they will help you get the care you need.

We must not leave any servicemember or military family member behind on the field of battle. If you or someone you love is coping with a visible or invisible wound, reach out for help. Resources are available, and they work.

Maj. Ed Pulido (retired)

Edmond, Okla.

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