‘Dance with a Veteran Ball’ to honor veterans

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Wakulla County had its very first “Dance with a Veteran Ball” on Saturday, Nov. 4. An impressive crowd gathered to enjoy dancing and partake in food and beverage. The event was free for veterans.
Wakulla Veteran Services Officer Harold Ross was very pleased with the turn-out and said he hoped the ball  becomes a continuously growing annual event.
Ross, a Gulf War veteran, began the evening with  opening remarks.
“This is the first opportunity to get veterans in our community together,” Ross said. “This is what I wanted for all of you, to cut loose and have fun and come together as a community.”
An Invocation was to be performed by Pastor Gary Austin, but he was unable to attend so Ross filled his shoes.
As in tradition, Posting of the Colors was performed. Vocalist Sharon Fox, who provided music throughout the evening, sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
A cup was given to all tables and was to be left filled with water. “The small white cups are for the POW (Prisoners of War) and missing in action,” Ross said. “These cups are to remember our fallen soldiers.”  
In between the scheduled event there was dancing, and stories told from different veterans who served during different wars.
Familiar faces included Lassie Williams, who spoke on behalf of World War II veterans and remembered fondly about boys during that time and the history and culture of the era.
Williams spoke of the difficulty of being a high-school kid and knowing that because of the war she might never see some of her friends again.
Henry “Buddy” Wells, Wakulla County Supervisor of Elections, recollected his memories of serving in Vietnam.
“They told us not to wear our uniforms coming home,” Wells recalled. “We could if we wanted to, but it might be best if we didn’t. Some did just that in fear of being spat upon. When I had to return home, I wore my uniform. It seemed I had a personal reason to, it just felt right.”
Jerry Moore and Harriet Rich both danced to music dedicated to the soldiers of World War II. Moore, a Wakulla County commissioner, stood in for Harold Thurmond to represent Korean War veterans.
Harold Ross spoke on behalf of The Gulf War era.
Attendees enjoyed reminiscing.Organizers promised that this will be an annual event that will continue to grow and honor Wakulla’s veterans.