The Guidon Essay

772 Words Dec 12th, 2010 4 Pages
The guidon, also referred to as the colours or the standard, is an important and time honored piece of the military's history that is still observed and revered today. The guidon is thought to have originated from ancient Egytptian times, where it was believed to have represented rulers and the armies they commanded. The idea endured well into medieval European times as it was used to depict each commanders' specific coat of arms. This is so that each soldier could see through the dust and smoke created from the battlefield where their particular regiment was located, so as not to be separated from them.
We still use guidons today, though maybe not for the same purpose or in the same situations, mainly because of how advanced warfare
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Later, battle honors were added to the colours, which made them even more significant and were revered even more by members of the regiment.
The colours are never destroyed capriciously anymore. When they get too old and worn out to be used or displayed as the uit standard, they are moved to museums until they moulder into dust. However, in modern armies, if the colours are in danger of being captured by the enemy, there are standing orders for them to be destroyed. It is for this reason and the advent of modern weapons, and subsequent changes in tactics, colours are no longer carried into battle. However, they are still used at formal events and ceremonies.
The word "guidon" derives from the Italian "guidone" meaning 'guide' or 'marker' and/or the Middle French corruption guyd-hommes, hence it is the focus for soldiers in battle. The significance of the guidon is that it represents the unit and its commanding officer. When the commander is in, his or her guidon is displayed for everyone to see. When he leaves for the day, the guidon is taken down. It is an honor, although sometimes a dubious one, to be the guidon carrier for a unit, known as a "guidon bearer" or "guide". He or she stands in front of the unit alongside of the commander (or the commander's representative), and is the rallying point for troops to fall into formation when the order is given. In drill and ceremonies the guidon and commander are always in front of the formation.…

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