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we just got back from the army ball - as many as I have been too I still cannot fingure out why they are called a Ball - lol. It is basically - you get there early, have pic taken with SO, socialize until the receiveing line lines up, go through the receiving line, stand at you chair until very one is in the ball room. Then they do the colors and national anthem, Pray. Then they talk about the empty table - it is a small table set for one, on the table is a helmet (the helmet of a fallen soldier) a red rose (to represent the family of the soldier), a lemon slice (to represent to the sourness of what the soldier went through), Salt (to represent the tears the family shed in memory of the soldier), A white table cloth (to represent the purity of the soul), next to the table are the soldiers boots, and the cahir is tipped up against the table because the fallen comrade will not be joining the rest of the brigade for the dinner. then they make army grog (a big pot of several, and I mean several, differnt alcohols to represent different times of the army - any where from bear to wine to moonshine - everyone cup is then filled with grog and they toast (to the USA, to the president, to fallen comrades, to the brigade, to the base, to the army - then the guys seat the ladies and toast to the ladies). Grog is nasty - there are so mnay alcohols in it that it actually smokes and you can smell it across the room - luckly I got to toast with fruit punch (only due to being pregnant - lol) After that is dinner, dessert, slide show of the past year, guest speaker, cake ceremony, and then they retire the colors. It is basically a black tie dinner - the soldiers in their dress (either greens, blues,or mess dress for army) and the SO either in ball gown (for women) or 3 piece suit with bow tie (for men). They are not bad to go to but make for a long night. this one was about 4 hours or so tonight.