Blackfive shares a wonderful video showing what Robin Williams did when he was confronted with mysterious military tradition:
No, he's not the stupid civilian the title refers to; I am. Williams' discomfort/confusion over the situation, reminded me of one of my most embarrassing moments on a military base (of course, nothing could top the unauthroized security check I conducted)...
When I worked on base my schedule was usually such that I was on and off before Reveille (went back later in the day), so it wasn't something I was really conscious of.
But on Air Show Day my schedule was different. I was parked out on the fringes of the base, walking along the flight line when I just barely heard the opening notes of Reveille in the distance. Just like the idiot civilian I was (and not realizing how late in the morning it actually was), I commented to the warrior guarding the flight line as I walked past, "Little early for Reveille, isn't it?"
He just looked at me funny, and asked with great intensity, "You can hear it? I can't hear so well, but you can hear it?" I replied with confusion, "Just barely, I think..." and kept walking.
He instantly turned on his heel and brought his hand up for a salute. Continuing to play the idiot, I look three more steps past him before it hit me.
And so I stood in front of him with hand over heart, facing the colors neither of us could see, listening to the notes only I could hear... and wishing the ground would just swallow me. Yet thinking it would be best if the ground stayed firm, since he wouldn't know Reveille was over until he saw me lower my hand...
Ugh. Don't see myself ever forgetting Reveille again, though!
P.S. More reasons to love Robin Williams. Wolf reports (in comments at Blackfive):
As someone who worked with Mr Williams and Chairman Myers on their very first visit, I can honestly say he's the HARDEST WORKING GUY IN THE THEATER when he comes over. NO ONE goes away disappointed- he stayed until EVERYONE who wanted to greet him got the chance. That's why the chairman 'escorted' him- kinda gets the final say on who does what, right away.
Robin signed autographs, shook hands, talked, and was completely wiped out each night. We PHYSICALLY had to 'escort' him to each venue; if not, he would have stayed a week at each place, easily. It was hilarious to watch the poor LTC who was his 'shadow' take him by the shoulders and go 'walk this way' from site to site; schedule-schmedule- all you got was basically 'he's here on Wed; by Thurs, he should be here..'' and hoped it would work.
The only other guy I saw even approach his ethic and respect was Gary Sinise.
God bless 'em both...