Mass wedding shows that not violence alone but also love thrive in barracks
Before God and man, at the St Peter’s Military Church (Anglican) 25 soldiers tied the nuptial knots in a special mass at the Nigerian Army 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, Anambra State on Easter Monday. As a matter of fact, they must be having their honeymoon now. So, what’s the big deal about soldiers wedding? As journalists say, when dog bites man, it’s no news; but when man bites dog, then that is news! In other words, there is nothing special about soldiers getting married. As a matter of fact, there is nothing spectacular about mass wedding. It is commonplace, especially in the Pentecostal churches, and the idea is basically to save cost and not necessarily make wedding cost centres. Indeed, mass wedding now cuts across religions, with the Kano State government marrying off 100 widows and divorced women in a mass wedding held in the Emir’s palace in May, last year.
What is novel in the Onitsha soldiers’ wedding is that it was the first time soldiers would be doing such mass wedding in the country. As the Commander of Onitsha Military Cantonment, Col Taritimaya Gagariga noted in a goodwill message to the ceremony, “It is a thing of great joy for me to see 25 soldiers getting married at the same time. I am overwhelmed with joy that soldiers under my command will want to live responsible family lives.’’
He was not alone; there was great joy in the cantonment, with the soldiers’ colleagues savouring every moment of the occasion. The mammoth crowd of relatives, friends and well wishers of the new couples who came from different parts of the country to witness the ceremony also shared in the ecstasy. It was indeed a sight to behold, with the couples looking resplendent in their wedding dresses.
We congratulate the newlyweds and wish them a happy and prosperous married life. By their decision, they have put a romantic face to a military institution that is usually associated with war and blood. What the action shows is that soldiers are also human; they are capable of feelings and emotions like any other human being; the difference is in their stern posture which is a reflection of their orientation and training.
We admonish the newly married soldiers to let the new life pass through them and not just to pass through it. The new sense of responsibility should reflect in all they do; officially and in their private life. Since they have voted to live responsibly, which is what they have done by deciding to marry, they should make use of the pieces of advice that they got during their wedding.
But beyond this, the marriage would help the army to easily sort out the issue of the soldiers’ next-of-kin. This has always posed a problem to the military authorities when the untoward happens and they have to pay compensation to the victims’ families. At least Col Gagariga too said that much.
We want to see more of this type of wedding, particularly in the military. Soldiers who are single and are scared of marrying because they see wedding as a project over which they must spend fortunes can now see that times are changing.
One of the couples, Sgt and Mrs. Chindo Larai, who spoke on behalf of the others thanked God for giving them the opportunity to be united in love through wedding and promised to use the new status given to them to make a better society. So help them God.
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