In reference to the Jan. 12 (Mideast and Europe editions) article “Mixed reviews for taps recordings at funerals”: I’m continually amazed at the way individuals attempt to circumvent their assigned responsibilities.

As a veteran, I’m offended that anyone would have the audacity to taint a military burial ceremony. Anyone who attempts to cheapen the final respects due a fallen hero needs to be court-martialed or fired.

The deceased and their surviving family members deserve our best effort to provide 100 percent assistance with ensuring their loss is shared and mourned by all of us.

This new fad of providing an audio recording instead of military bugler smacks of a cheap Las Vegas wedding complete with plastic bouquets. All government officials and organizations must put a stop to this insensitive, disrespectful laziness now.

Let’s hold the responsible officials accountable for performing their duties. There are several options available. Contact your members of Congress, The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the overwhelmed Department of Veterans Affairs.

There are military installations worldwide. Each can be tasked with providing a bugler assigned to its geographical area.

Military installations already cheapen the retreat ceremony with inferior audio systems, complete with crackling static.

When I’m laid to rest, I do not want my friends and family wondering, “Is it live or is it Memorex?”

Randy Plessinger

Ramstein Air Base, Germany

Don’t show GIs flouting safety

Regarding the photo on the front page of the Jan. 8 edition (“A resilient insurgency”) that shows two U.S. Army soldiers returning fire after being attacked: The picture may look cool, get people to look at the paper, or whatever went through the mind(s) of the person or people who decided to put the picture on the front page, but it was very disturbing to me. For an individual who is presently deployed in Afghanistan, working in a hospital, who sees our gravely injured soldiers laying motionless in their hospital beds, the picture absolutely angered me.

We spend billion of dollars on research and development to ensure our soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines are the most- and best-protected individuals at times of war, yet these two individuals are without their helmets. The picture was not very clear, so I do not know if they even had their Interceptor Body Armor on. The picture almost looked staged, Rambo-style. They had their cool sunglasses on, but not what they need to have on to save their lives.

This choice was most disturbing to me and, I hope, many others. This was definitely not a good picture to put in your paper.

It comes down to the leadership of this unit and the leadership of all units deployed to constantly educate and demand the use of helmets and body armor in a theater of war. It is just as important (if not more important) than the eye wear they are wearing and the weapon they are firing.

Col. Carlos O. DeLeon

Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan

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