It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Chris Hedges

Monday, August 25, 2008

Black Watch

My friend Allen is excited by a new book soon to be released about the last days of the Black Watch in Canada. The world in 1951 was frightened enough about the Soviets to re muster the Regiment from five highland militia units. Although they only took the parade ground for less than 20 years it was the last gasp of military pageantry before the onset of unification and the army of 'little green managers' that formed Canada's military in the 70's and 80's.
Allen served in the Black Watch and I remember a story he told me about how it all ended. He was with the Regiment in Germany when word came down that the colours were to be struck and the unit made a part of the androgynous new Canadian Army. Describing the mood on that day as dark, the Black Watch were determined to go out with style, and organized a proper Change of Colours parade, complete with band and unit turned out. They waited and waited. Finally, a jeep rolled up and a little green man from Administration opened his briefcase and handed over the colours. It was the perfect metaphor for the attitude-of-the-day regarding all things military.

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