In the news recently, it was reported that two RCMP cadets fainted during a ceremony at which our Prime Minister was speaking. I wondered why this made the news. Was the media suggesting that Mr. Trudeau was somehow responsible?
In the military, having people faint on parade is commonplace. I don’t know why the RCMP would be any different, but this report made me think about my navy experiences.
During my training, my shipmates and I spent a lot of time on the parade square, particularly during our basic training. If we were not at sea, we were on the parade square every weekday morning for eight 0’clock. Every Friday we had Ceremonial Divisions. This included dignitaries and all the finery associated with a formal parade.
It was never a question of would someone faint, it was a question of when. There was a reason Med A’s (medics) were positioned off to the side of the parade square in the shade. They were simply waiting for sailors to start falling. And it always happened. During a large parade it was not uncommon for five or six to go down. Keep in mind that we were in the sun and staring straight ahead for, possibly, up to an hour.
We were taught to take a knee if feeling faint. In most cases that is what happened but, occasionally, someone tried to tough it out. I recall one parade when a fellow went down face first. I forget how many teeth he lost but it was not pretty.
I was reminded of our drill sergeants who, in their tender and caring way would caution us about fainting on parade, particularly if we were chosen to march as the honour guard.
“IF YOU FAINT, YOU BETTER FALL BACKWARDS AND MAKE SURE YOUR BODY IS BETWEEN THE GROUND AND THAT WEAPON YOU ARE HOLDING. IF YOU GET A SCRATCH ON THAT RIFLE, THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY.
“AND IF YOU FAINT FORWARDS BE SURE NOT TO PIERCE YOUR NECK WITH THAT BAYONET. BECAUSE IF YOU GET BLOOD ON THAT RIFLE I WILL BE REALLY UNHAPPY.”
I’m glad I never fainted. I would feel bad ruining the Parade Chief’s day.
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