VETERANS BALL … Patrick Tusko and wife Jami Tusko on the dance floor. (PHOTOS BY LACIE FISH, STAFF)
By Lacie Fish
Throughout the course of American history, courageous men and women have taken up arms to secure, defend, and maintain these core principles upon which our Nation’s freedoms depend.
The 5th annual Williams County Veterans Ball took place Saturday, November 13th, 2021, at the Williams County Veterans Memorial.
The evening started at 5 pm with cocktails and appetizers. Everyone had been assigned a table and got settled in while music played. All the women were dressed in beautiful dresses and the men in suits, and everyone looked absolutely amazing.
Around 6:00, colors were presented, and the National Anthem was sung. Bill Priest then gave an opening speech, and he talked about each veteran’s individual story and his great grandfather telling a war story.
He then recognized the Williams County Veterans Commission and called them up to the front to present an award to Mary Oliver for her extraordinary service working with veterans.
Dan Bonney told Mary’s story, so everyone knew what a fantastic individual she is. She has helped soldiers and veterans for almost 40 years. Mary then asked for a moment of silence for the 13 lost overseas.
At that time, prayer was said before dinner. Prime Rib, chicken, salads, bread and rolls, vegetables, potatoes, cheese, dip, and so much more was on the menu.
Around 7:30 there was a POW-MIA table speech. Some know it as the Missing Man Table or the Fallen Comrade Table.
Each item on the Missing Man Table represents the emotions and feelings reserved for those who did not come home. The ceremony symbolizes that they are with us, here in spirit.
All Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our Nation’s call to serve and fought for our freedom with honor.
The symbolism of the Missing Man Table: The table is round to show our everlasting concern for our missing men.
The cloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve. The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the lives of these Americans and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith while seeking answers.
The red ribbon symbolizes our continued determination to account for our missing. A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families, who long for answers after decades of uncertainty. The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return, alive or dead.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one Nation under God.
The glass is inverted, symbolizing their inability to share a toast. The chair is empty, the seat that remains unclaimed at the table.
Champagne was brought around so that everyone could be part of a toast. Several toasts happened. Some for veterans, some for America, and one special one at the end that the Tuskos toasted for the Marines. And finally, it was time for dancing, and people could not wait to get on the dance floor.
It was a fantastic night full of laughter, family, and friendship. I ended up being sat at a table full of amazing people.
And I’m sure if I could have talked to everyone there, I would have found out they were all the same way. Everywhere you looked, you saw smiles and laughter.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Ronald Reagan
Lacie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
VETERANS BALL…Everyone dances and enjoys themselves as the night goes on.