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Tony Grist

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So Many Things To Commemorate [Nov. 7th, 2010|10:04 am]
Tony Grist
Last week the racks at the entrance to Sainsbury's were full of Halloween junk- and had been for a month or more; yesterday some fairy had waved her wand and the Halloween junk had been transformed into Christmas junk. Three Christmas presents for the price of two!  The only nod to it being Bonfire Weekend was a special offer on parkin. We bought a packet of parkin and should have bought two, because it was very good and though it was priced at £1.49 they only charged us 44p at check-out.

There was a bunch of old guys in berets selling poppies by the exit. An instructor from the Air Cadets was standing talking to them. We'd spotted him earlier breezing round the aisles with his basket.  He was about 40 and wearing his camouflage kit and rakish beret like he'd just come off the parade ground.  I took an immediate dislike. I don't know, but I think it's inappropriate- in fact, sort of rude- to swagger round a civilian environment dressed like that- especially when you're not a proper soldier. I tried very hard not to think "wanker!" but it was too late; I already had.

Here's something Einstein once said: "When a person can take pleasure in marching in step to a piece of music it is enough to make me despise him. He has been given his big brain only by mistake."

This year I'm wearing a little enamel poppy lapel badge that Ailz bought for me in the British Legion shop in Ypres.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-11-07 10:33 am (UTC)
Because of the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland it was forbidden for many years for service personnel to appeal off duty in their uniforms in the UK. I'm not sure whether that applied to cadets though! I went through San Diego airport one President's Day weekend and there were dozens of US Navy guys in full dress uniform with little peaked caps and all, it was like "Top Gun" or something. We are no longer used to seeing them around. But then, our police officers and nurses don't seem to do much of their supermarketing in uniform, either.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-07 10:38 am (UTC)
Uniforms intimidate. I don't think they should be worn except when a person is on duty. This is Britain, not Hohenzollern Prussia.
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From: loxian
2010-11-07 11:34 am (UTC)
It's usually these cadet or territorial army types who can't just wear normal clothes and walk properly, I've noticed. Presumably real soldiers get tired of it quite quickly and are glad to be and behave as if off duty.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-07 12:01 pm (UTC)
I remember a Church Lads Brigade Officer from my early days in the priesthood who used to roar at the boys like he was a proper drill sergeant. You could see he was having a whale of a time playing soldiers.
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From: loxian
2010-11-07 09:36 pm (UTC)
Church Lads Brigade! Yes! I came across these people for the first time in Bristol a year or so ago - I had never heard of it before. They were hilarious in a Roderick Spode kind of way.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-07 09:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, very Spodeish. They're a bit like the Scouts only churchier and more militaristic.
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[User Picture]From: airstrip
2010-11-07 12:31 pm (UTC)
I don't mind it really. I never see people dressed to kill unless they're ROTC or on their way to or from military activity. Actually, I think it's against code to wear a uniform otherwise.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-07 01:03 pm (UTC)
British soldiers were banned from wearing uniform off duty during the IRA terror campaign. I don't know where things stand now. It's certainly very unusual to bump into military personnel in uniform on civvy street.

Earlier this year we were at my mother's and there were people in US army fatigues going round the local supermarket. It was weird. They weren't- however- the real thing (as you could tell from the waistlines)- just a bunch of re-enactors who were attending something called The War and Peace Show (lots of war, not much peace) at a venue down the road.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2010-11-07 03:23 pm (UTC)
It's only since Vietnam that vets and soldiers have taken to walking around in camouflage fatigues. There's no pride in that. IMHO a soldier should wear the proper uniform when appearing at a parade or a recruitment or other function that emphasizes the military. Showing up in raggedy fatigues and needing a shave does not help to heal the tarnished image of the military.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-07 04:49 pm (UTC)
I guess a lot of those Vietnam vets were deliberately trying to tarnish the image of the military.

I don't think military personnel should wear uniform except when they're on duty.
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[User Picture]From: methodius
2010-11-08 05:28 am (UTC)
This year gunpowder treason was forgot here, completely. The dogs were happy. And Hallowe'en has never got started.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-08 08:27 am (UTC)
We had a quieter Nov 5 than I can remember. I believe it's a festival that's on its way out. People are focusing on Halloween- and perhaps the recession has something to do with it too.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2010-11-08 08:46 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking that the American Legion has made paper poppies for years here, to honor the armed forces. My dad brought home a paper poppy and gave it to me when I was seven. I thought it was so pretty. It had a slip of paper attached, probably explaining what it was for, and was on a green wrapped wire stem.
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