The Army band and the sound of patriotism

Friday, October 1, 2010; A20

Regarding the Sept. 25 letter "Why the Army still strikes up the band":

I was drafted during the Korean War and ran through the rigors of basic infantry training at a stink-hole in the South that had not seen a blade of grass since before World War II. Late in that adventure, we were sent into the field for some practical maneuvers. After a week of dirt, scorpions and 100-degree heat -- a mere taste of what it is all about -- we marched back to camp . . . hut, hawp, hut, hawp. My bedraggled unit was met at the fringe of the camp by the Army Band, which led us back home to the stirring airs of John Philip Sousa.

I never stood as tall, before or since, as I stood that day. I was Charles de Gaulle at the head of victorious armies on the Champs Elysees in August of 1944, and it was glorious. I would have done anything for you people -- my people -- that day.

Brad Johnston, Culpeper

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