Senator Joseph Day on his Time in Military College
By 27832 OCdt (II) Pablo Cardona, 12 Sqn, e-Veritas Chief Correspondent
H7543 Senator Joseph Day joined CMR Saint-Jean in 1963 and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering at RMC in 1968. He had originally joined the military as a pilot, but because there were no spots available on his training, he soon left the Forces and went to Queen’s law school.
Although the New Brunswick native did not have a lengthy military career, he does have fond memories of his time in Military College. In particular, he recalls his first year at the College and his time as an athlete.
Like all recruits who came before him, and who came after, the Senator underwent a rigorous “Recruit Term” (which what it was called at that time) in his first year. He recalls that the first years at CMR were treated as recruits all year and the importance of physical training was emphasized.
One of Senator Day’s most vivid memories is completing the recruit obstacle course. The CMR recruits ran the course in early November, having to deal with frozen water obstacles. Senator Day particularly recalls one such obstacle where he had to go underneath a low bridge and underneath the water, a terrifying ordeal for someone who is claustrophobic.
“In our day it [the obstacle course] was an individual thing, there was a prize for the person who won,” recalls the former patent lawyer, “the most demanding was the running, we ran a long way, the break from running was doing push-ups or doing one of these obstacles”
Shortly after completing the obstacle course, the recruits were allowed to leave the College during the Remembrance Day weekend. Unfortunately, Senator Day and a classmate got into a car accident on their way to Montreal; his first real free time since joining the military was spent accompanying a friend in a hospital room.
He left CMR after three years to finish his education at RMC Kingston. By this time, he and his classmates had become accustomed to the environment of the College and were the cadets running the show.
“I agree with the emphasis on individual and team building when I came here to RMC in third and fourth year and that made a lot more sense to me” remarked Senator Day.
The Class of ’68 graduate was a prolific athlete, playing on the badminton, soccer and basketball teams. He also served as the Cadet Wing Sports Officer under the supervision of then, Major Danny McLeod who was the Director of Athletics.
Well after he graduated and left the Canadian Armed Forces, the ex-cadet continued to work on behalf of the Colleges. He served with the RMC Club and the Foundation for nearly two decades and went on to establish the New Brunswick branch of the club.
This past weekend, the very personable gentleman came down to Kingston to partake in the events of the Reunion Weekend. Two of the highlights were watching the Obstacle Course and witnessing a ceremony that was not performed in his time: the badging parade.
“It is a very great experience for the cadets to get their badge and become part of the Cadet Wing,” said the ex-cadet “I love the whole process and I will be here to watch it.”
“I congratulate them [the Class of 2020] on their very important milestone, very important step on their life here at the college,” commented Senator Day, “ I also congratulate them on having chosen this institution, it has a lot to offer if you take advantage of everything and try your very best.”