January 9, 2011

Winter Ball

Last night was the winter ball for the Brigade that Trey is in. I was so nervous about leaving Andrew for the entire night, but ended up doing very well. We had such a great time.. I have no pictures yet as I forgot my camera, but I will soon!

I've only been to one of these Army functions before, but I forgot how much fun they are! Last night totally renewed my love for the Army. How could it not?

Not many girls have an excuse to dress up all Cinderella-like at least once a year and be on the arm of your very own Prince Charming hero.
The camaraderie among all of the soldiers there is infectious.
You get to hear about all of the strong and brave things your husbands do from day to day. Seriously... I was in a room full of about 400 of the bravest people in our country.. humbling!
The speeches that are made throughout the night are incredibly motivating.. and to hear those 400 some odd soldiers yelling out a big HOOAH at the same time after a few particularly inspiring words.. kinda cool.
The delicious food (and wine).
Seeing Trey drink out of the Grog for the first time. Grog Ceremony = a long standing tradition within the military, going back to the Calvary days of westward expansion. They would share their "spirits" with one another.. whatever they happened to have on hand... ensuring that all soldiers had something to drink. So now, some of the big wigs will get up in front of everyone and start pouring every liquor under the sun into this huge bowl.. each one representing a different time period in the unit's history. For example.. they start with a base of sand and blood ( sugar and grenadine). Then to represent something I can't remember, they pour vodka in (after said big wig gulps some straight from the bottle). And so on and so on until rum, brandy, tequila (that was poured in to represent our units move to El Paso I think.. that I kind of remember), beer, wine.. blah blah blah was added in. Some people choose to drink it and some people are forced to  as Trey was.. kind of a hazing if you will. Slightly.. I'm sure he somewhat enjoyed it no matter how disgusting he said it was.
I'll never tire of the colors being presented and retired. How quiet that room full of people get and how still those soldiers stand.

I know I mentioned this after our last ball, but that was over a year and 1/2 ago and is definitely worth talking about again. Right before dinner we do a few toasts. The last toast was a toast to our fallen comrades. During their last tour in Iraq, three soldiers were lost. There was a table set up for them last night and the last toast was made for them. I can't remember everything that is said, so to get the full effect I googled the exact-ish words.

"You may have noticed the small table set for three that is off on its own - it is reserved to honour our fallen comrades in arms. This symbolizes that they are with us, here in spirit. We should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation's call [to serve] and served the cause of freedom in a special way. We are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured the agonies of pain, deprivation and death.

I would like to explain the meaning of the items on this special table.
•The table is round - to show our everlasting concern for our fallen comrades.
•The tablecloth is white - symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
•The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of our fallen comrades, and the loved ones and friends of these comrades who keep the faith.
•The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to remember our fallen comrades.
•A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those who will never return.
•A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by the families of those who have sacrificed all.
•The Holy Book represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country.
•The glass is inverted, they cannot toast with us at this time.
•The chair is empty because they are no longer with us.

Let us remember - and never forget their sacrifice.
May they and their families ever be watched over and protected."

It's impossible for me to put into words what the room felt like at that moment.

Last week I would have told you that I am counting down the days until Trey gets out of this crap. Today - I am proud all over again. I'm a part of something magnificently bigger than me.


Ashleigh said...

omg, that made me cry....I can't imagine all of the emotion in that room!

Heather said...

Whoa -- I bet there wasn't a dry eye in the place.