Your Letters: Teaching Soldiers To Be 'Army Strong'

Last week we aired a segment about the U.S. Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program which aims to teach soldiers how to be emotionally and psychologically strong. Host Rachel Martin reads letters about that story and more.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's time to go to our inbox now. Last week, we aired a segment about the U.S. Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program, which aims to teach soldiers how to be emotionally and psychologically strong. I spoke with one of the program's trainers and with Brigadier General James Pasquarette, the director of the program.

BRIGADIER GENERAL: It's hard for soldiers to sign up for something that deals with what's between your ears. We're really into physical fitness. And however you're wired in your brain, that's - I'm going to deal with it and there's treatment on the far end.

MARTIN: Jarrod Davis in Tucson, Arizona, writes: I served in the Army, in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. When I listened to your report, I was not surprised to hear that stigma towards anything to do with mental health was still present in the military. He continues: I know that when I got back from Desert Shield, it would have ruined my career if I sought out mental health care.

In our News Tip segment, I spoke with NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik about coverage of the 2012 presidential election, which started a year ago. Folkenflik reminded journalists that...

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Most people are visitors to the land of political obsession, not full-time residents.

MARTIN: Vaun Angert posted this at NPR.org: David Folkenflik says that people don't have time to devote to the minutiae of politics. I hope he realizes that a huge part of that busy life includes the minutiae of sports or the latest celebrity gossip. Most people only pay attention in the final week before an election, when they perk up to the negative political ads for guidance.

He goes on to say: It's a shame we can't generate the same minute interest in something that has real bearing on our lives that we devote to, the lives of people in a realm we'll never be a part of.

Leslie Davis from Portland, Oregon, echoes that feeling, adding: An obsession with every nuance of primaries and caucuses is not the same thing as an obsession with politics because politics is much more than elections. Americans elect all kinds of people; neighborhood representatives, members of school boards, state senators. Reporters - Folkenflik, too, apparently - could use a reminder that political race is a metaphor and that we're not actually watching a dog fight or a horse race.

And listeners thanked us for Heidi Chang's story last week about the Hawaiian music, used to score one of the most critically acclaimed films of last year, "The Descendants."

(SOUNDBITE OF GUITAR MUSIC)

MARTIN: Maureen Davis writes: The music seems like another character in the story; a grandmother watching over, the wife apologizing and comforting, the great-grandfather teaching what is right. Even instrumentally it speaks as if words would be too much. The music supervisor Dondi Bastone and director Alexander Payne did an amazing job.

Judith Anderson adds: When my husband introduced me to Hawaiian music, I fell in love. As a genre that represents original music from the U.S., it deserves to be listened to and loved like jazz or the blues.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUITAR MUSIC)

MARTIN: We want to hear from you. Visit NPR.org and click on the link that says Contact Us. Find us on Facebook and Twitter at @nprweekend and @rachelnpr.

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