A Strathcona at the 2014 NATO Summit
By Sgt Conway Eady
After a nine-hour flight, I finally touched down in London, England. Two trains later and I was at the Defence Academy in Swindon, England. The first day, the other NATO representatives and I practiced drill. We had to ensure all were synchronized as soldiers from Canada and a soldier from Jordan may differ regarding drill movements. I think it was my outstanding drill that dictated me and Mr. Croatia (No one had names. You where Mr. Where ever you came from) lead the parade. I know it wasn’t because both our countries started with the letter C. It took no time before everyone’s drill was on the same page. Before we knew it, we were done. Time for a little meet and greet.
The next day was the opening day of the 2014 NATO Summit in Newport, Wales. We jumped aboard a bus at 0800hrs to make the two-hour bus ride. Everyone had to be there for 1300hrs. It was nice to see how the Canadian and the British Armies shared a dedication to timings. One good thing about being at the Celtic Manor Resort early was that we got to see a lot of VIP’s enter the resort. We stood and drank instant coffee and watched several leaders from around the world walk in with their entourages. Then out of nowhere comes Mr. Czech Republic. He looks at me and says, “Hey Mr. Canada, who’s coming from your country, Wayne Gretzky or Eric Lindros? Ha, ha, ha!” Seriously? Eric Lindros! Needless to say the hockey-loving countries and I got along just fine. Once we got the word to form up, things started to sink in. All I could think about was how honoured I was to be there representing Canada on the world stage. Then, I started hearing a voice in my head. It was RSM Batty saying “Do not screw this up!”
As soon as the doors opened and we stepped off, the cameras started to flash. It was a feeling like no other. I could feel the power in the room as I marched past President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron. The entire ceremony was about six minutes. It felt like 20 seconds! As soon as the ceremony was over, we got back on the bus and headed back to England. Five hours later, I was heading back to London to jump on a plane. The joke was Mr. Canada flew half way around the world for a 6 minute parade. It was worth every minute! It was a great experience and to represent Canada on the world stage and was something I’ll cherish forever.