Saturday, 9 November 2013

Getting ready for the Independence Day

I am travelling today to a new country that I have never visited so far. But obviously many interesting things happen in parallel. Unfortunately I cannot be in two places at a time but thanks to my friend Mike that you have met last winter I will be somehow able to show you a unique moment that you could have otherwise missed.

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11 November is officially the National Independence Day of Poland. This is the last day of World War I when Poland regained its independence after 123 years on non-existence. Each year on this day there is a huge celebration including parades and other military events. One of the major elements is the official changing of guards in front of the monument devoted to the Unknown Soldiers (I am sure that you remember that we have seen it already in January). Since this is such an important event, it is very difficult to see it well otherwise than in television. But Mike proved to be very smart and he came to the site two days earlier, when the troops were having their rehearsals. The bad side is that they were not wearing their dress uniforms but their combat dress. But you cannot have everything in life my friends. 

The ceremony starts when the Polish flag (in white and red) is drawn on the mast. 

In the back, you can see the monument itself.

In the center, in front of the monument, stands the orchestra. As any other military band it includes mainly wind and percussion instruments.

Now I will introduce you to the uniformed services participating in the celebration. We will start in the middle and first move right. You will see there the Commandment of the Garrison of Warsaw.

Then comes the Polish Navy. They are easier to recognise even in combat dress because their hats are black.

The Polish Air Force has greenish hats but they have a different shape.

Then comes the Polish Army, called also Land Force.

Last but not least - the Representative Battalion of the Polish Army.

The only type of Armed Forces that was missing here were of course the Polish Special Forces. I am sure that you have guessed yourself why.

Now let's get back to the military band and move to their left. First come the logistic forces, called Support Inspectorate.

Then, in red hats, comes the Military Gendarmerie. This is a type of internal police for the Armed Forces.

Next you can see the Border Service.

The next ones are easy to identify with these huge inscriptions on their backs - my friends thumbs up for the Police.

Then you can see the customs officers. For those who do not see a difference between the border services and the customs - the first ones are here to prevent people entering Poland without permission while the others are here to prevent goods entering Poland without permission (or without a fee).

And the last ones on the left side is the Prison Service.

One last shot to show you all the troops in rows.

My human secretary was complaining that all uniformed forces that were not military forces included women while there was no single women amoung the armed ones. She said she can understand it (a bit) with respect to the Representative Battalion but not for the others. Don't tell her (she also does the cooking so I do not want to upset her too much), but I believe such events are for men. And for horses of courses.

Many thanks Mike! I am really happy we could take part in this event despite my travelling.

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