22 March 2013

Flat-Out Friday: Honouring the Fallen

The 95th anniversary of the Battle of Moreuil Wood was celebrated yesterday by the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) regiment. My cousin Nicole and I had the privilege to watch the parade in the morning and see the annual regimental awards being given out.

Can you see Matt? He is standing in formation as the second-in-command of A Squadron.

We then got the opportunity to mingle with the soldiers, and yesterday evening Matt and I decked ourselves out for the Battle of Moreuil Wood mixed dining-in, a chance for spouses to mingle with their husbands' peers and their partners in a fancy-schmancy atmosphere.

A Sqn on parade from a distance

When researching what on earth I should be wearing or how I should be acting, I quizzed Matt on all the various protocols at Mess dinners so that I would be prepared for how the evening would progress. The first thing he made sure to mention was that, although it was a mixed dining-in, it was intended to be an occasion to memorialize the fallen from the Battle of Moreuil Wood and every battle the Strathcona's have been engaged in since. This meant dressing appropriately and respectfully: tea- or floor-length dresses, appropriate accessories, and a sense of feminine respectability. I got my mum to ship the only formal dress I own out to Edmonton, found some formal yet flat shoes, and broke out the fancy jewellry usually reserved for weddings. When I was ready, I felt elegant and pretty, which I felt was perfect since I would be standing next to Matt all evening and his Mess kit is... rather flashy.

I did go with my hair up in the end.
When we arrived at the event (after getting lost twice and driving through the snowpocalypse that had been plaguing our city all day - more on that in a later post), I saw friends and spouses of more senior officers dressed very beautifully and respectfully. And then I saw some of the dates the younger soldiers brought.

Is it just me, or am I old-fashioned when I say that any dress above the knee is not considered formal wear? Also, any dress that is tight enough to show your underwear lines (should you choose to wear any at all)? Some of the outfits on the ladies last night were bordering on offensive. There was one dress that the fabric used would only have been about as large as the napkin I used for dinner. There was a sundress that, when the wearer lifted her arms, just barely covered her unmentionables. And these ladies thought this was perfectly okay to wear to a dinner where they would be hobnobbing with retired officers, the Commanding Officer of the Regiment, and the generous civilians who provide financial contributions. I was shocked.

But I think the absolute worst indiscretion was that these ladies felt this was appropriate attire to wear to a memorial event. An event to commemorate the fallen soldiers from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), past, present, and future. It was an opportunity to remember your friends-at-arms and the support they receive from their spouses so they can continue to exemplify the regimental motto, "Perseverance". How much (or how little) respect can these women have for their partners and the sacrifice they make if they do not have enough self-respect to dress appropriately?

I could go on, but instead of focussing on the dishonour, I will focus on the honour that my husband brought to the regiment when he gave his speech in homage to Fallen Comrades. We had a lovely meal, was each complimented by the CO (Matt for his speech and I for my baking), danced a slow song or two, and by the time we left, the snow had stopped falling. Today I am tired, but the sun is shining and we have company. And though I was left with a distaste for some people's taste last night, overall I consider it a success.


reccewife said...

I am a huge lame-o who loves Mess Dinners. And the only one I have been able to attend, my hubby was not home for. :D
Also - I shall leave the other comments with just a resounded "AMEN SISTA". Cause I don't have anything polite to say on it. Seriously. Some people's kids I tell ya.
You two look dashing, as usual. :)

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