All dressed up and now ready to go. The officer on the left proceeds to the center of Parliament Hill’s parade ground to assume guard duty. He and his escort have spent some time in a studied, choreographed sideline stroll on the grounds while others inspect his troops. He will now receive a big gold key to the guard room, tuck it in his sword belt, draw his sword and his troops will go on duty for twenty four hours. Then they will come back out onto the parade grounds in full dress to get relieved. Every day at ten guard units march along city streets escorted by band and pipes to Parliament Hill for a changing of the guard ceremony. While the on duty unit provides ceremonial sentries throughout the area, I am convinced they spend most of their time with this ceremony. By the time they get bussed into the staging area, form up march up the parade ground (about 30 minutes), have the relief ceremony and march back, it has to be a half day exercise. Ah, but it’s a show for the folks and a fine one at that.

The units form up across the canal from us so we have seen parts or all of the ceremony every day. Dee has tired a bit of the bag pipes. They do not carry well when their sound bounces buildings. Just when she started to comment (mind you comment, not complain), the band and pipes did a rousing movie western theme music number. As impressive as it is to hear good pipes for the first time in a long time, it’s quite the big deal to hear them do big country movie music.

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