Rather strong comments were contained in recent letters to the editor regarding the Payson Honor Guard Bugler and the device used to play music, in this case "Taps."
Although the Payson Roundup article clearly indicated that one of the mission elements of the "EchoTaps Program" is to "preserve the tradition of a live Bugler," there may be some confusion generated regarding the use of taped music at various patriotic events in general. Many of our active duty military commands use taped music to raise the colors in the morning and to play "Taps" in the evening. There is nothing that I know of that is improper, inappropriate or illegal about using taped music for ceremonial purposes, whether that be a record, cassette tape, compact disc or any other device to project music. Many organizations and/or communities cannot afford a live bugler or even find one who can adequately play for events.
I suspect the fraternity of bagpipers and other musicians feel the same as our letter writers, in that they would rather not have taped music played at events, so that bagpipers or musicians would be hired to play. We must remember that our focus should be on the purpose and meaning of the event and not so much on the means to achieve it. The public should understand that we always try our best to achieve what protocol dictates for our patriotic events, but we must remember that we are not competing for honors or attempting to pass some sort of military inspection. We are honoring our veterans and, as long as what we do is done with honesty, dignity, sincerity and pureness of heart, we are fulfilling our responsibilities and our obligation to those who went before us, those with whom we now serve and those yet to come.
Bill Sahno, Col., USMC (Ret.), Chairman, PPEC