The Biggest Social Event in the Region!!
The Grand GALA Honoring
America’s Armed Forces
That is what Ly Kou would tell everyone she met, it’s going to be the Biggest Social Event in the Region! – you need to be there! Well, she was right. The Grand Gala was the Biggest Social Event in the Region and it was much more than that. How does one capture in words the most incredible evening? One hundred and seventy-eight men and women in awe and filled with an emotion they had not expected to experience.
The formality of the Honor Guard and the presentation of Colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner opened the evening.
The formal POW/MIA Honor Ceremony mesmerized everyone. The ROTC Cadets performed magnificently, precisely and with great dignity. The narration enhanced the ceremony with clarity, so the symbolism for each component on the table was understood:
“The tablecloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arm, so that their children could remain free. Remember.”
“The single rose to remind us of the loved ones and families of our comrades in arms who keep the faith and await their return. Remember”
“The black ribbon on the candle reminds us of those who will not be coming home, remember.”
“The lone candle symbolizes the frailty of a prisoner alone, trying to stand up against his oppressors. Remember.
“The slice of lemon to remind us of their bitter fate, if we do not bring them home. Remember”
“The glasses are inverted, they cannot toast with us tonight, maybe tomorrow, if we remember.”
“The faded picture is a reminder that they are missed very much and are remembered by their families.”
“The salt to remind us of the tears that were shed, remember.”
“The slice of lemon to remind us of their bitter fate. Remember”
As we look upon this empty table, do not remember ghosts from the past, remember our comrades, our loved ones. Remember those whom we depended on in battle, they depend on us to bring them home. Remember our friends, they are the ones we love – who love life and freedom as we do. They will remember what we do. Please honor and remember them.”
At the conclusion, the guests stood, raised their water glasses, and shared a moment of silence and respect.
The haunting chorus from the Battle Hymn of the Republic sang by Krystine Malins, accompanied the Cadets as they retreated from the Missing Man table.
The unspoken words from the guests was communicated by the tears that glistened in every eye; there were a few people that had to step outside to compose themselves. So, moving was this tribute that people just stood in silence and awe.
Of the comments I heard some of the most poignant were: “I had never seen this formal ceremony before, thank you, for remembering, those that are unaccounted for.” “We forget, tonight we were reminded of just how much our Armed Forces have given for us.” “As a veteran, thank you for remembering that not all of us came back, some of us are still missing.” One man simply said, “I can’t speak, thank you,” and with that he just gave me a very strong hug.
The formal ceremony required formal service caps from all the branches of the Armed Forces; the ROTC from Cal Poly Pomona had the Army cap since they are an Army ROTC but did not have the caps of the other branches. Captain Nicholson said they could do a single table POW/MIA ceremony. We were faced with a dilemma – do the single table or find the hats for the other branches and hope we could borrow them for the evening. We chose to find the hats.
Deborah Scott-Toux spoke to the ROTC at her school, and they provided a Marine hat; after several calls to various military outlets, and organizations, the ROTC from Rialto High School provided us with the Navy Hat; and Big Johns Military Surplus graciously let us rent the Air Force cap. But, we were still lacking the formal Coast Guard cap, and we wanted every branch represented. We were in a bind.
Lt. Durham from Rialto High School was retired Coast Guard and he said, “finding a Coast Guard cap is going to be your biggest challenge. We thought we were sunk… but then our own MVRC Joe Shanahan had been in the Coast Guard and he searched though old treasures and voila! He found his Coast Guard Cap!! He saved the day!
I would like to share two of the comments I heard relative to including the Coast Guard. “So many times, we are not included in various ceremonies; we are usually recognized under the Navy, I was surprised and moved to have the Coast Guard represented, thank you.” Another man said, “I could not believe the Coast Guard was included; I walked up to the POW/MIA table later in the evening, and just stared at the caps, and there I was, alongside the other branches, I was recognized. I say I was recognized, because that cap represents me, it is personal.”
After dinner we honored all the Armed Forces currently serving and Veterans. We asked the Cadets and Master Sergeant Tripp to join us in this tribute. They did.
We gave each veteran, or those still serving an envelope with an American Flag Lapel Pin inside and a note. In that note, we had asked, all veterans and members of the Armed Forces, after dinner, to rise and come to the stage when their military song was played. The medley of military songs started, “From the Halls of Montezuma,
The Coast Guard Song, Anchors Away, As Those Caissons Go Rolling Along, The Wild Blue Yonder”; as each Military song was heard, men and women rose and buoyantly with smiles on their face, came to the stage, as did the ROTC Cadets and Master Sergeant Tripp.
I cannot express how amazing it was to look up and see those who have served, are serving, and will serve grace our stage. Spontaneously, the audience stood, stepping out from their tables, standing across the dance floor and cheered, and clapped, and brought the down the house.
The tribute to our Armed Forces concluded with 178 voices raised in unison, proudly singing “God Bless America”.
As is done in the Military Balls, the formalities take place, then they are closed; and the more jovial or fun part of the evening takes over. Evan Sayet, was masterful as he had everyone laughing with his comedic genius! Dancing and the raffle followed. At the end of the night, everyone had experienced not only a wonderful social event, but a moving patriotic salute to America’s Armed Forces!! All I can say, is thank you, Lord, for it was Your hand that guided this endeavor. Of course, the Board was asked if we are going to do this again next year!! A sign of a successful party.
Gun Control: The Conning of America _ March 2018
Yes, my friends, we must take action, but that action is not in controlling or banning the guns; the problem lies not with guns, but with the purposeful indoctrination of a generation upon which the very basis of American society has been systematically damaged, it has been fundamentally changed.
Let us, for a moment, reflect on a time when respect was expected; when rules were meant to be followed, when laws were enforced, and when, as a society, we embraced the principles and teachings of our Creator. So much so, that in our very Constitution, it is written: “…endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights…”.
In that reflection, let us remember when saying I am an American, was done so with pride; when the American Flag was revered, and when people yearned to come to America, not to change her, but to assimilate into her society – to become American.
Let us also recollect that responsibility was taught at all levels; when discipline was the hallmark of training a child to be accountable for their actions, and when, there were winners and losers in sport, or spelling bees. When children were taught not just how to win, but how to use losing as lesson to do better, not to internalize the loss as if it affected their worthiness and made them a failure.
Let as ask, “why has it been only in recent decades, that mass killing of innocent people, by one or two shooters has increased.” The mentally ill have been with us for centuries, yet, they did not shoot children, or masses of people. They were diagnosed, and identified and placed in sanitariums for their health and the health of society.
Guns have been with us since before our Declaration of Independence in 1776; they should remain our right to have and to own. The Second Amendment was included so that an armed citizenry should never fear their government, so they should have the means by which to defend themselves, whether the predator is civilian or government.
Yes, we must do something about the shooting of innocent people; but in truth, neither our government nor the progressive left is willing to see the true cause of this blight on society, for to do so, would require a far greater effort and change than merely removing guns from society.
To stop the shootings, America must undue the cultural change that has infested her citizens and her prodigy. Rules, responsibility, accountability, laws and enforcement must return, life must be valued, not selectively through abortion or euthanasia of the ill, or the old, but valued in all forms. Most of all, we must bring back to the classroom, the Congress and society, the principles and guidance bestowed to us from our Creator.
One never knows when God will send to us a message, an inspiration, or a validation. Last week, He did just that, in a chance meeting of an Army Combat Veteran, a Marine Veteran and me.
As I waited to be called into the lab for a bone density test, the Army Combat Veteran, arrived and sat a few chairs from me. I noticed his hat, and smiled as I thought of how my husband proudly, yet humbly wears his Navy Hat.
Preparing to leave, I again noticed the Vietnam Veteran, and for some reason, felt compelled to say a few words, acknowledging his service. We spoke briefly about the Vietnam War, and in our conversation, he mentioned the awkward moment he experiences when someone says, “Thank you for your service”. He said, “I never know exactly how to respond; “you’re welcome” does not seem appropriate, it seems empty, yet, I don’t know what else to say.”
The words shared by, Retired USMC Intel Chief. National Security, Counter-terrorism, and Border & Immigration Analyst, Jeff Schwilk, came to mind. At the 911 Memorial held last year in Upland, Jeff, said, “…in that awkward moment, when words are at a loss, I simply and sincerely respond, “thank you, for your support.”
The Army Veteran understood the nuance and the meaning of those five words, shook his head slowly, as if repeating them in his mind, and then said, “thank you, I now have my answer.”
Gathering my paperwork, I turned to leave, when in walked the Marine Veteran; as he walked by, the Army Veteran, tapped him on the shoulder. According to the hats they were wearing, both men had served in Vietnam. The Marine turned, nodded in acknowledgement at the Army Veteran, they exchanged a few sentences, and then as each moved their separate ways, the Marine turned back, said to the Soldier, “Hey, Welcome Home”.
Welcome Home, how those words kept repeating in my mind, even after all these years since Vietnam, they were still important. It was as if for a moment I was that “fly on the wall” witnessing two strangers share an understanding and fraternity that transcended words or explanation.
I invited the Army Veteran to the Gala we are having in honor of our Armed Forces. He smiled ever so slightly, and looked down. “Another time, he said, my wife and I would have loved to go, but right now, it is not possible. I am starting a new, more intense, medical treatment. He paused, then said, “I am fighting lung cancer”. Then he said, “ironically, they say it was caused by agent Orange”.
God sends Angels. On Tuesday the 15th of January, I said, “Thank you, Lord, for the three Angels you sent: Jeff Schwilk, for sharing his words at the Memorial; the Army Veteran and the Marine Veteran who unknowingly validated the inspiration for our Grand Gala.
Whether formerly or currently serving in America’s Armed Forces, the support America bestows upon those who fight for her sovereignty, her citizens, and her future, is paramount. As civilians, our commitment in this partnership is to support those who serve. Support, and respect, it is earned and appreciated and should never be taken for granted. Our very lives, and the safety of our Country rely on The Armed Forces of the United States.
May God bless and protect every member, may He keep them in His loving arms, and with a handshake or a hug, may we sincerely always say, “Welcome Home”.
ALL IN GOD’S TIMING
All in God’s timing! How many times have I repeated those four words in my lifetime, relying on them to guide me through thick and thin; counsel me as I wrestle with important or emotional decisions. In 2018, they again have brought me solace and peace. In 2018, for the first time in eight years, I will step down from a recognized position on the Board of the Mountain View Republican Club.
I have been a member of the Board in various capacities for the last eight years; President, Vice President, Special Projects Chair, Communications/Programming and Legislative Review Chair. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of those years and positions. Then there came a time when I would often wonder if I would ever be happy not being on the Board; and so I just left it in God’s hands, He would let me know when it was time.
You see, from the first time, I walked into my first meeting of the Mt. View Republican Club, at the Village Grill, I fell in love with this Club. It was not as large as it is today, nor was it as politically active as it is today, but there was spirit, and fight, and honor, and I could envision the growth and accomplishment of the Club. I was smitten!
In the ensuing years, that vision has come to pass, each President has led the Club with her or his own special flair and talent. We have all taken the “leap” to accept the nomination of President. We did not know exactly what we would do, but we all shared a vision, and each in our own way, discovered more about us than we ever expected.
The members of the Club are the heart of its existence; each and every one has contributed and continues to contribute to its success. There are those who volunteer at election time; those who volunteer at the meetings, and those who faithfully come to the meetings. All are contributing to the success of the Club.
Those who come to the meetings regularly; thank you, thank you. Your presence is vital. It conveys to the speaker that we have members who care, and who are informed, and because of that we have been able to bring in some very interesting speakers, and we have grown to know and care for one another. Never underestimate the importance of your presence at the meetings.
For those who enjoy volunteering, thank you, thank you, for your extra time put forth; it is amazing what the Club has accomplished because of your efforts in election years, and throughout every year. “Many hands make little work” thank you for taking on some of the things that must get done, and allowing our Club to be recognized as a Club that does gets things done.
My love for this Club remains strong; which was why I wondered if I could ever not be a Board Member. But, in “God’s timing” it became less of a major decision. The answer was always in front of me: we serve at the pleasure of the membership, and in time, we must make way for new people to serve, to discover their talents and contributions, and we shift from serving on the Board to serving as a member.
“All in God’s timing”… thank you Mt. View Republican Club for a wonderful eight years serving on your Board. The time has come to make this change and it is good. I shall continue to write “From My Perspective; my last formal responsibility will be the Grand Gala honoring our Military on March 10. God bless our new Board; God bless our beloved Club.