Last week I was able to experience something that not many Americans in the modern day can say they have done.
I attended a real life BALL.
And by ball, I mean like fairytale ball. Like the one Cinderella went to and lost her slipper kind of ball. Well except this one the king and queen are not trying to marry off their son.
Was I really living out my Disney princess dream?
The best description I can give came after talking with my friend Kate about the experience. I give her credit for it; it is pretty much spot on.
“It was a like a wedding reception for America.”
And it so happened to fall on the Army’s birthday last Friday. Here’s to a great 238 years!
Tom just had surgery for an injury he sustained during his time away, so he wasn’t much for celebration that week. The things we do for love though. He was a trooper for me since I had never been to a military ball and endured the pain of dressing up in his formals. He just couldn’t stand up straight, move very fast, or laugh without holding his belly. I am a cruel wife, I know. Seriously though, it was our one guaranteed chance to go to a ball!
And he admitted the day after that he was glad that I made him go.
Living near Nashville has it’s perks. The 101st Airborne is able to have their balls at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. Talk about once in a lifetime!
It was magical. I am not sure I was even able to soak it all in. There was just so much! It was so surreal and breathtaking.
This particular event was to celebrate the 3rd Brigade coming home from their most recent deployment. There were around 1,000 people at this event. It was to celebrate the success they had and to decompress from being at war.
Because of the timing though, it signified a little more for me.
It really was like a wedding reception. I have been living a pretty distant life away from the Army since Tom enlisted. I could separate myself when I wanted to and be something else besides a military spouse. But now that I have moved here, I have a VERY different relationship with the Army.
I feel it every day in a very different way, much like how it is for a relationship when you get married. It becomes a little more serious. The Army is much more present in my day to day. And not in a “in your face-I’m stalking you” kind of way, but in a “hey, you’re the cheese to my macaroni” kind of way. From seeing the camo everywhere in our home, driving on and off base, seeing “America” basically on every corner, to serving military students much more openly at work… And did you know that most stores give military discounts? Every business asks for our IDs so we can get discounts, and when I ask if that is an every store policy or just this area, most say that it is every store. Hidden secret! I am going to have to hop on that!
So this ball for me was a little celebration saying I am ready to commit to this thing and there is no going back! Let’s do this Army.
It was a very special night with lots of emotions. We heard very high ranking officers talk to the men about the journey the Rakkasans have taken, and that now they are part of that legacy. Hearing these officers speak of valor, courage, camaraderie, and the leadership was breathtaking. I was overwhelmed throughout the evening as they talked about the selflessness of our soldiers. And most of them will tell you that’s just their job and want nothing more as recognition. You saw all kinds of medals, ranks, and other decorations signifying pivotal moments in these soldiers lives. (It was like a game trying to point out different ribbons or awards that you could find on people.)
There were moments of silence for those who have fallen. It brings a tear to my eye thinking about the silence as we held up our glasses in honor of the set table for one on stage symbolizing those who did not return.
And there were toasts to celebrate the victories. A lot of hoots and hollars to see whose company could be the loudest.
If this type of event doesn’t make you feel patriotic, probably nothing will.
It gave me a sense of unity that I had not felt before. I was now fully connected.
Hats of to the Army. They know how to reel you in without you even noticing.
(And I didn’t even have to drink from the Grog to fill this giddy.)
It was a night filled with formal gowns and bow ties, nervousness, laughter, speeches, good food, expensive drinks, dancing, introductions, but most of all great pride.
Great pride for our nation, great pride for our freedoms, great pride for the 101st, and great pride for Tom. The service they provide to a nation of people they have never met and to individuals around them is something that cannot be described easily. Uplifting and encouraging for humanity. I felt a piece of it that night.
So here’s to our wedding America! I am glad Tom and I said yes.
My craft tonight actually was for a wedding. Sometimes I really surprise myself with how I match the craft to the entry.
I made this for two friends of mine who recently got married. Congrats to the Baumgardners!
I am not sure what this crochet stitch is, I started too long ago to remember the name. I am not sure I would do it again. It was really finicky, and I would get the needle stuck in the bubbles if I tried doing it without watching. And you had to count a lot. It was too much thinking. Crochet is a mindless thing for me. I don’t want to have to work at it.
It turned out nice though! I do like the textured stitches! I apparently forgot to get a close up of the stitch whoops.
I do love these colors.
Until next time…