Ceremonies do need for retired military officers

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-06-13 16:02

BEIJING, June 13 (ChinaMil) -- As troops reduction continues, the first group of demobilized Chinese officers has left the military system in succession.

Recently a regiment with the 21st Group Army of the PLA Western Theater Command, an Air Force air defense unit of the PLA Central Theater Command and an armed brigade with the PLA Eastern Theater Command all held farewell ceremonies for the demobilized officers, giving a warm touch to the troops reduction work this year.

To further optimize the military organization and human resource structure, more than half of the reduced 300,000 personnel are officers.

They used to be the backbone of the military who unreservedly devoted their youth and strength for China's military development, but now they have to get on a new journey of their lives because of military reform and adjustment.

Only those who have served can understand how they feel.

While soldiers always have boisterous ceremonies when they retire, military officers always leave quietly, which sometimes leaves a scar in their hearts.

When officers complete the retirement procedures and leave quietly, what behind them are the barracks they have fought for and willingly contributed to, and what in store for them is the unknown work and no-longer-young faces.

It's a moment when they need kindness and encouragement most.

Soldiers come and go, barracks never do. War is a cruel physical and intellectual confrontation between two conflicting sides.

To keep their military organization vigorous, all countries in the world take the officer retirement system as an important means to prevent military aging and ensure the orderly retirement and recruitment of officers.

In the American military, for instance, officers of different titles such as lieutenant colonel, colonel, brigadier general and major general have to retire if they have served the full term and are not promoted. Regardless of why they leave the military, the officers have dedicated their best years to national defense, and they deserve a decent ceremony to draw a perfect closure to their military career.

For members of a group, ceremony is a kind of emotional comfort and encouragement. The Chinese military has attached more importance to all kinds of ceremonies and gradually improved them, some of which are even included in relevant ordinances and rules.

From recruitment to retirement, there is the oath-taking ceremony, title and gun-conferring ceremony, promotion ceremony and soldier's retirement ceremony, but there isn't a retirement ceremony for officers.

An officer's retirement ceremony is a way of appreciating the demobilized officers for their support to national defense, of memorizing their loyalty and contribution to the nation, of affirming their military career, and of encouraging them before going to work in local areas.

It is the multifold significance of officer's retirement ceremony, more and more troops have voluntarily held it for retiring officers in recent years, but those ceremonies vary in themes, procedures and details, which somehow makes the event less solemn.

The author believes relevant departments should study this matter and formulate rules and standards for the timing, responsible department, theme and implementation procedures of those ceremonies, so that troops will have definite references when holding them.

Soldiers take honor very seriously and the military respect the strong, but demobilized officers are neither cowards nor deserters. Joining the military, they are ready to serve; leaving the military, they are willing to follow the nation's call for strengthening the military through reform and will continue to contribute to national defense in civilian roles.

Thus, holding the retirement ceremony for leaving comrade-in-arms is the best way to sublimate patriotism and love for the military and deliver positive energy.

(By Fang Yongzhi, an associate professor from the PLA Engineer College)

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