Introduction

Over the past decade we have noticed a rampant increase in the number of people who are wearing their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. The cadre of people who flagrantly violate the official rules on how you are supposed to wear your medals ranges from the average veteran right up to former Governors General. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that the higher the rank of the individual the more likely they are to just wear whatever they want, however they want. I like to think of this as “Instant Dictator Syndrome” or self-aggrandizement at its most obvious.

Why do people wear their medals incorrectly? Often it is because they simply do not know any better. If you are one of these people you should consult WEARING ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS which is available from the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. This guide will help you figure out how you are supposed to wear your officially granted orders, decorations and medals.

When it comes to wearing your medals incorrectly the worst offenders tend to be former Governors General, Lieutenant Governors and retired Generals. When these people – all in authority and all surrounded by staff who know better – wear their medals wrong they are obviously suffering from the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The attitude accompanied with this most severe condition is “the more medals I wear the more important I will look.”

This simple blog is aimed at revealing the myriad of fellow Canadians who cannot seem to wear their medals correctly.

Monday, October 25, 2010

An Inauspicious Beginning

Where is H.E.'s CC?
A number of readers sent me photos of His Excellency the Governor General receiving the first poppy of the year in advance of Remembrance Day. While His Excellency was wearing his medal bar, he was not wearing any neck insignia, when in fact he should have been wearing his CC or CMM. It could be that he simply forgot to put it on when dressing, but this is a thin excuse. 

This is the sort of thing any half competent Aide de Camp or member of the Rideau Hall staff should have noticed. Let us hope this is not repeated -- it would be a real shame if Mr. Johnston was to adopt the attitude of one of his predecessors who patently refused to wear medals other than an infrequent display of his CC (see photo below for a clue of who it was). These sorts of things are not terribly complex and require only minor attention to detail. At the installation ceremony a month ago he was properly dressed with CC at the neck and medal bar on his breast. 

Even the CC was rarely worn.
Surely when you are appointed Governor General someone takes the time to explain that you are going to have to wear dress clothes much of the time and you will also have to wear medals on many occasions. As President of the University of Waterloo His Excellency regularly wore his academic gown on the appropriate occasions, so the transition from "academic garb" to "state garb" should be a natural one. 

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