The military honor guard over Mrs Cory Aquino's bier had their 9 hours in the public spotlight. As the funeral cortege passed, they had to stand for more than 9 hours in the rain, sun and wind. The four soldiers represented the four services, army, navy, air force and national police. I would have wanted that at least one of the honor guards was a woman. When Mrs Aquino became president, all reasons for not having women as soldiers became moot. After all if your Commander-in-Chief is a woman, what is wrong in having a woman take the orders?
The four men had been interviewed by media and the press. Still dressed in their snappy uniforms, they were asked how they were able to manage it.
Well that's the post-ROTC generation asking! These young people have no idea of what it means to stand motionless for hours! It requires discipline of course but also requires compartmentalizing what one feels.
In ROTC we were taught to think of nothing distressful when doing these duties and of course to wiggle your toes. I have been part of a cadet honor guard for the deceased. While standing for 9 hours exposed to the elements is quite extreme as compared to standing in an airconditioned funeral chapel for two hours, still the same techniques apply.
Once I reviewed for my math exam while on honor guard duty. Lo and behold, I passed! It was a kind of focus, the same focus that Mrs Aquino's honor guards applied. The soldiers compartmentalized their feelings and focused on the pride they had in being assigned to do this duty.
But in the end the family of the bereaved should feed boodle to the soldiers!
This display of military professionalism and duty does give high marks to the AFP and PNP.
And I hope the next President of the Philippines makes it urgent matter to amend the National Service Law and put back ROTC as a good way of molding character and discipline.