When our US friends in theatre remember a fallen comrade, they use a custom somewhat different than our own. The US memorial service ends with a ceremonial calling of the roll, in which the dead soldier’s name is called three times. This practice is hauntingly described at a service yesterday for Major Ronald Culver, an officer with the Louisiana National Guard, killed in Iraq on 2May.
Fittingly, Maj. Culver’s service occured on Memorial Day, a US holiday dedicated to remembering that country’s military dead. One thing that threw me in this account was the reference in the service that Maj. Culver had “gone to Fiddler’s Green”. I googled the term “Fiddler’s Green” and discovered that it is used by US armoured units to refer to a legendary afterlife, a kind of Elysian Fields, for the souls of dead cavalrymen. Maj. Culver served in a cavalry unit. I would be curious to know if anyone has ever heard the term used in a Canadian or British armoured unit.