Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Military Honor Night

Last night was the evening that DramaMama planned to honor servicemen from the past and present. This was inspired by a man from our ward (Brother Vincent) getting notice that he is going to be deployed to Afganistan. He will be leaving this Tuesday.

We have been gathering photos and stories from members of our ward, and I took 2 days and put together a video that showed the pictures and told their stories.

The night came off extremely well. DramaMama was stressed out of her mind worrying that it would be a failure, but as usual, she pulled off an amazing evening.

We had the old pictures set out on a table, and one of the men (Brother Boushley) brought some memorabilia from his days on a submarine. We had posters from the different branches of the military. My favorite had an aircraft carrier on it with the words "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of anyone that threatens it."

We had the Boy Scouts do a flag ceremony and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then a young girl, whose father served in the Navy, sang The Star Spangled Banner. Then we had the dinner which consisted of fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and rolls. After dinner, we had another musical number by three young girls. They sang God Bless the USA. Then we had a man from the ward who had served in the British armed forces speak about patriotism. THen we showed the video.

The video started out with a sign reading "The Brimhall Ward honors those who have served and are serving in the armed services."

Following that, we had this quote from Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Then we went through the photos. The ending was rather poignant. Erica chose 3 songs: He's a Hero, Where Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly, and American Soldier by Toby Keith. At the end, we had all of the pictures that Brother Vincent had given us. One of which was of him kneeling at a grave with his head bowed. It was a touching image. He also supplied a poster of a kneeling soldier with a message and a scripture. I made a transition between his picture and the poster. With the words of American Soldier over this, it was hard to hold back the emotion.

After the poster, the music faded out, and another sign appeared:

"Please join with us in a moment of silence to honor those who fought bravely and gave their lives to ensure our freedom." After that it ended with "Thank you from the members of the Brimhall Ward."

Once the lights came up, we could see that several people were wiping tears. Everyone stood up and applauded. Not for the video, but for those present who were in it. It was all very touching. Many people came up to me later, with looks on their faces that I had never seen before. They were truly grateful to be honored like that. They thanked me over and over for doing the video. Many people asked for a copy. I discovered that I made a couple errors, so I need to patch it up, then I will make copies for everyone. I will try to put up a link to it once we get it fixed up a bit. After it was over, several people in attendance let us know that they also had served. We didn't know. So after we get them in, fluff up some of the stories, add more pictures, etc.

It was rather sobering making the video, and seeing all of the people who served, some of whom died. We heard some neat stories. Brother Boushley told us that his sub had the distinction of firing the first guided missle launched from a sub. Another one was of a linguist who listened in on Russian conversations in Cuba, who accidentally pushed a wrong button and shutdown a major operation. It went clear back up to the Joint Chiefs. One man served in Patton's 3rd Army, another served as a personal aide to the Joint Chief of Staff of the Army.

My favorite of the stories though was of a group of 6 brothers that all served in World War 2. Before each of them left, their father laid his hands on their head and gave them a father's blessing. All 6 of the brothers returned home unharmed. I will admit that when DramaMama told me that one over the phone that it choked me up good.

It was a fantastic evening, and DramaMama did herself proud. Today at church, several people mentioned it. Good job honey.

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At August 05, 2008 10:03 AM, Blogger drama mama said...

It turned out great...but I'm glad it's behind us. You did a fantastic job!

At August 05, 2008 6:25 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

Sounds like an incredible program. Great job!

At August 08, 2008 10:31 PM, Blogger serenity said...

Thank you for the effort, the time, and for your hearts, for what it took to do this for these very special individuals. And thank you for putting together such a beautiful blog post about it to share with all of us too.

Hope you are all well these days.


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