I had the distinct privilege of attending the year-end parade at College Militaire Royale de St Jean, outside of Montreal, Quebec. For the non-Canadian viewers, CMR (or in the English version, RMC) is the Canadian equivalent of West Point or Sandhurst. While this is not strictly gaming-related, it is definitely military in nature. Why, you may ask, was I attending this parade? WARNING: proud father moment!!! Both of my sons, Michael and Daniel, are attending this prestigious institution and in three years will graduate as commissioned officers in the Canadian Armed Forces. This spring they've just finished their first of four years at CMR/RMC and continue their studies at the Kingston campus in September (which is much better for me since Kingston is four hours closer by car than St. Jean). I couldn't think of a more satisfying feeling than seeing my boys (well, they're men actually...gotta' remember that), following such a noble and fulfilling career path. Of course, my life-long interest and academic training in military history makes me that much prouder of their career choice.
One of the highlights of the parade (aside from Daniel as 2iC of his squadron, hence his scarlet uniform), was the attendance on parade of the regimental band of the Royal 22nd Regiment, or Van Doos. An exceptional band and a pleasure to watch (I'll have pics posted as soon as I remember where I stored them).
Another highlight was meeting Vice-Admiral Rouleau J.A.D., OMM, MSM, CD, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. The admiral was the reviewing officer on parade. After the parade, my son Michael, my daughter Diana and I were relaxing by the Richilieu River on campus, enjoying the day and chatting. We looked over and sitting 20 paces away was the admiral, alone and typing into his blackberry. He was obviously taking some time away from his official duties to relax for a moment. My daughter (10 years old, brave and forthright) sauntered over to talk to the admiral. Within moments, she had brought him over to chat with us. Almost simultaneously, my other son Daniel and some of his cronies (er....fellow cadets) showed up on scene. The admiral, a very personable and engaging man, was kind enough to stand and chat with us all for over ten minutes. I think this was a great example of how those who make it to the top of their profession can easily relate to and engage those who are only beginning.
Seeing my boys on parade on such a beautiful day in St. Jean was fantastic! A word of warning though: When they graduate in Kingston in 2012, don't bother trying to have a conversation with me. I'll be a blubbering idiot, proud and thankful.