Recently I was honoured to be able to take part in the Last Post at Menin Gate in Ypres and lay a wreath as part of the ceremony. We had taken our Explorers on a memorial event in light of the 100th anniversary of World War one and this was a key event in the day’s activity. We were invited to have the whole group take part and parade in with how smart each of the young people looked.
I was delighted to see when I returned some hugely positive comments about how smart the Unit looked from another attendee posted to the 1st Facebook group as well as receiving praise and comments on the day from onlookers and military personnel alike.
I was- am – incredibly proud.
There were other groups there of Scouts and Cadets that did not have the same courtesy offered to them to join and parade. They attended in activity wear and group t-shirts. By no means did they look scruffy, but there was a marked difference in how they were presented.
This sparked a debate on the thread about respect- should the groups have all attended in uniform, or is it more important that they were there attending?
I think the question that needs answering is this: is respect purely an internal thing? To me, it’s not. Respect is not just about how you feel, it’s how you act. I don’t feel the groups who attended in casual wear did anything disrespectful- on the contrary, they had taken time from their trip specifically to take part in an act of remembrance and that is absolutely laudable- but I don’t feel they necessarily demonstrated that respect to those around them and that is the key point- respect for others includes how you make them feel.
By putting themselves out, making the effort to have their uniforms hung up on the coach as we travelled, taking the time to get changed before the event- all these things showed that little bit of extra thought that had gone into how we came across that day and that is what came across to all those who saw us parade and take part on the day.
When I put on my uniform, I’m constantly reminded of the promise I made- to do my best- and I would like to lay that challenge at everyone’s door- are you absolutely happy you’ve done your best, or is ‘good enough’ good enough?