Robin Williams’ Act Interrupted By Military Tradition [VIDEO]
(Caution: Some language)
Robin Williams was overseas, entertaining our troops, when his act was interrupted by military tradition: Retreat.
One of the things that made Robin Williams so great (in my mind) was that he gave so much of his time to our troops, and really appreciated their sacrifices. Another thing that made him so great (at his job) was his ability to think quickly.
While performing for our troops in Kuwait in 2007, time for Retreat came (normally, 5pm, but each base commander can set the time for Retreat). Retreat, according to my memory (and backed up by The Soldier's Guide), occurs at military installations to indicate the end of the duty day, and time for lowering the Flag. It's not like a whistle at a factory that indicates the time to punch out for the day; it is done today more for tradition and respect for the Flag.
Wherever you are on a military base, be it walking on a sidewalk, driving a car, or in a building; when you hear Retreat being played, you immediately stop, face the flag (if visible) or the sound of the music, and come to the position of Parade Rest. After the sound of Retreat, the National Anthem is played. At its first note, a proper salute is rendered, and held, until the last note is finished playing. Then, you go about your business as usual.
The same procedure is done at 6am on most installations for Reveille. All military members are required to stop all activity (as safety allows), face the Flag or the sound of the music, and assume the proper position for the raising of the Flag.
Robin Williams response to the 'event' was quite humorous, respectful, and, obviously, he learned something that day, which probably made him respect the soldiers, and their dedication to duty and country, just a little more.