Military Dopers: Do You Like Ceremonies?

Like parades, pass-in-review, all that stuff where full dress uniforms are required? My experience was that the first one was nice, after that my feeling was that they all could be a lot shorter. So, while in the military, did you like this stuff or hate it?

I hated it, but never had to do it once out of advanced training (and extremely rarely there). Zoomies don’t march, we fly. I also hated medal ceremonies, as most of the medals given out were of the “Good Conduct” kind, which basically meant you didn’t get arrested. Surprisingly, some people found that tough to earn.

Didn’t enjoy it, except for formation drill which got to be pretty cool (only did it at the end of Officer Candidate School). Never enjoyed making uniforms spotless – I was always the most slovenly officer, relatively speaking.

Tolerated them. Whether or not engaged in a task at hand, an enlisted man’s mind continualy has a significant portion devoted to thoughts of liberty, either planning activities, or counting down the minutes until it starts (this former enlisted man, anyway). Non-productive activities such as ceremonies do nothing to hasten the beginning of liberty, and often delay it.

Early on, they were exciting and inspirational. We did a pass-in-review in bootcamp that was a high point for me. Then they just got old - I suffered thru far too many change-of-command ceremonies while in uniform as well as when I was a civilian employee of the Navy. Now, I don’t like ceremonies at all, being an old grouch and all. At my niece’s wedding last week, I kept wishing they’d just eloped…

I understand why some people like all the fuss and formality. But mostly, it feels like too much self-importance to me. Like I said - old grouch. :smiley:

Never enjoyed 'em. Always figured everyone else did. Guess I was wrong.

This was my experience also. Thankfully as soon as I got to the ship, we had very few ceremonies and I usually found ways out of them.

Would this include crossing-the-line ceremonies?

Hated them. Hours of standing, listening half-heartedly to the brass toot their horns, followed by marching past a review stand. It’s completely ego driven by the honoree. When I retired, I had the option of a full dress ceremony. I chose to just sign the papers in the Yeoman’s office with my family and the CO present, because I remembered how much I resented standing in the hot sun for those sorts of things.

Hate, hatehatehate. Hours of rehearsal, generally in the sun. Just so one guy can go on to a new job or retire. I’m not sure how many of those cursed things I did, but the Marine Corps fucking LOVES them.

The only one that’s was kind of ok was change of command for CINCPAC. There were cannons.

Heh. My commands were kind enough to make participation in such ceremonies optional. I sat out my first opportunity at a Bluenose ceremony. Against my better judgment, I submitted the next time it came up, which confirmed for me that my initial instincts had been correct. The first time a Shellback opportunity came along, I wasn’t even tempted.

I mostly despised full dress uniforms. Those IME experience were mroe associated with formal social events. Despite being ground oriented I’m close to D_Odds view of marching. Tankers don’t march either.

There was one ceremony that had serious potential to be awesome that just missed. That was held at the end of the ten days in the field at night by the light of a giant bonfire. I hadn’t shaved since the morning before and my coveralls were dirty, greasy and smelly. Pass in review for that was mounted on tanks. They went a little too close to the model of normal ceremonies on some pieces though. Missed it by that much.

Rehearsing for formal ceremonies was my bane. The ceremony wasn’t that bad in and of itself and did have benefits. Forcing the troops who mostly aren’t doing much to rehearse standing there and changing positions 83 times was painful. It increased the pain while stamping out some of the upside. A point of personal pride is that I was able to limit some of the stupid as I got more senior. KISS could apply to ceremonies and they could still be well done.

Of course as I got more senior I also went to a lot more change of commands/change of responsibility voluntarily Sometimes that was despite them being inconvenient. As an outsider to the organization I missed the rehearsal pain and wasn’t on the field. It was a great chance to say goodbye to good leaders I’d worked with …and see for myself that the others were REALLY leaving. It was also a useful environment to extend influence with key leaders outside my unit. Ceremonies can be a lot more meaningful if you aren’t rehearsing and have a chair. Which may explain a lot about the normal reality of what happens. :smiley:

I’ve been that way since I was forced to attend my own high school graduation. At least back then, we didn’t do stupid shit like graduation from kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, etc. Far too many graduation ceremonies for my kids (but I attend them all grumbling to Mrs. Odds).

The only thing worse than ceremonies were the operational readiness inspections. Squad level, then platoon level, then company level, then battalion level, then brigade level. And every time somebody fucked it up, you had to do it again. And again. And again. A month of that shit could make you suicidal. At the brigade level, it could be 4-6 hours standing on a parade field so somebody could make sure everyone’s underwear was stenciled correctly.

Outside of OTS I was only in a couple of ceremonies. Since I was on the back row (shortest person in the Wing) I could pretty much relax and drift off.I’ve spent worse days (funerals in the summer).

As for OTS, I loved drill and ceremonies. But then I was in the band.

And I had to march in heels. So, there. :cool:

I love bagpipes, so I am always excited when pipes and drums are on parade. I didn’t mind them when I was actually parading, it’s less exciting now that I am a Public Affairs Officer.

I was in the US Army for three years and didn’t often do ceremonies. Maybe three or four. One was the “getting out of basic training” ceremony. I stood right behind one of our drill sergeants, and remember seeing a daddy long legs on her hat, walking around. She knew it was there and nothing could be done about it.

I tolerated two more.

One I hated. While in Korea we were to have a change of command ceremony. The colonel who was coming in was late. Our units were assembled on the motor pool paveing. In July. During the middle of the afternoon. In the blazing sun. Guy in front of me passed out. I was about ready to, so I helped drag him out of the lineup.

That colonel was an asshole, who wanted his installation immediately, so it couldn’t be put off. While in command he did other stupid things, and finally went too far when he wouldn’t recieve a visiting general. His schedule was “too busy”. Col. Black(his real name) didn’t like women in the military, and this general just happened to be female. We heard his next post was some deputy command position at Ft Hood. Payback is a bitch.

Reminds me of a change of command at NAS Lemoore, which is in the San Joaquin Valley in central California. Blistering hot day. We were all in whites, but it was still just brutal. A woman in the squad in front of me passed out (probably from heat exhaustion), and as she hit the ground her wig came off. You’re not supposed to try to catch someone who is fainting (never did figure out the reason for that bit of insanity), so it was lucky we were standing on grass. The Corpsmen got to her quickly, but damn, you know?

AIUI, it’s to avoid getting two hurt people instead of one.

I’ve seen quite a few people thunder in, and the worst, by far, are the vets on Remembrance Day. I really disliked the outdoor ceremony in Winnipeg in November with no coat and ears open to the wind (still better off than the Highland Regiment), but the indoor one with the veterans fainting was awful. One year, at least three had to go to hospital after.