Bob Higgins

Parade

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on February 8, 2018
In four years in the Marine Corps, I had the dubious honor to march in at least a half-dozen parades. Whenever a base commander or divisional Poobah retires or simply moves on to a new assignment protocol demands an elaborate ceremony. This ritual requires all enlisted personnel, and junior officers from the wrong schools, to stand at attention and sweat in the sun until some predetermined number of them pass out from heat stroke. That number is a closely held secret, for reasons of national security.
These change of command ceremonies are of great importance to the ass kissing chickenshits often found near the top of the chain of command, although I’ve never been informed of the reason. One flea-bitten old general is replaced by a newer version, that’s it. The whole thing could be accomplished in a phone booth with a handshake, but military and political tradition require that there be ten thousand witnesses to the sacred event. So they stand stiffly in the sun, a sea of sweaty privates aching to scratch their sweaty privates, while various uniformed and civilian gasbags expound on duty, honor, and the American way. Speeches and fawning remarks are offered by other generals, by a sycophantic aide or two, the head of the Kiwanis club, the president of the local car dealers association, and other civilian “dignitaries.” With booze on their breath and cheese dip in their teeth, they toss off a lame joke and a few boring anecdotes until the troops begin to groan audibly, then mercifully return to their seats.
This is the point when the assembled ranks are ordered to pass in review. The band strikes up a triumphal march… ♪♬ “Oh, the monkey wrapped his tail around the flagpole…”♪♬ After stepping carefully over, or around the limp, inert bodies of their fallen comrades, the multitude marches to the end of the parade ground, makes two snappy left turns and returns to pass in front of the assembled brass and drunken civilians. “Eyes right” and off into the distance to load up, return to barracks, and mark off another miserable day of their enlistment. War is hell but parades suck swamp water.
Trump and others claim that they want a grand parade to “honor the troops.” Having been inflicted with such honors I think I speak for the troops when I say “enough.” Honor them with a day off, a long weekend, an open bar, a pay raise, but not another goddam parade.
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