Military precision matters for Armed Forces around the world, but a Yorkshireman considering joining the British Army is slightly more prepared than other new recruits.
Twenty-six-year-old Evangelos Marathos Rainey is half American and half Greek, but grew up in Yorkshire and has spent the past nine months as a Presidential Guard in Athens.
His role was to watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
All the guards are conscripts, and with Evangelos’ conscription now complete he has returned to York and is now thinking of joining the British military.
What does it take to join the Greek Presidential Guard?
In Greece, it is seen as a huge honor to join the Guard, but not everybody is eligible to join.
To be considered, you must be:
– At least 6ft 2 in height
– Greek Christian Orthodox
– Have no medical complaints
– Have no visible tattoos
– Every conscript guard is paid the same, 8.62 euros a month.
The Symbolic Marching
The Greek Presidential Guard, also known as Evzones have a very technical and unique way of marching.
Each step and movement has a meaning behind it, even down to standing still while on duty.
Standing still honors the dead, so the Guards do not move or talk. The only thing they are allowed to move are their eyes.
During the Guards marching, the leg flicks up as if saluting then stamps down. This is partly symbolic of a horse’s step – as historically they would have been lead by officers on horseback.
But more importantly, the loud step is a way to tell those who sacrificed their lives for Greece, that free Greeks are still here.
Some believe the high step is also symbolic of stepping over dead bodies, as they would have had to do in battle.
Lastly, the raising of the leg makes the shape of a number four, which represents 400 years of Turkish rule and Turkish occupation.
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