Last night, we had the most lovely evening with the youth of our ward. In this ward, apparently, it's tradition to have a Veterans Dinner. Being in the YW Presidency, and being the same week as our YW in Excellence, I've been swamped getting ready for that program and was not overly concerned about the dinner. I'd said that I would decorate the tables and help with the meal, but my focus has been on YW in Excellence.
Last night was the event Our youth had interviewed the vets in the ward and prepared to share a little about each one at a dinner. We served soup, salad, bread and pumpkin bars for the meal. I pulled out my July decorating bin and decorated the tables without purchasing a thing. Again, my focus is on the next event!
But, once we were there and everything was set up, it became a most lovely evening. We had planned on 40 plus the five young women that usually attend our activities. We ended up serving 66 people! We had ten girls attend! We ended up running to the grocery store for more rolls and salad and then again for more dessert. The guests never knew it, but it was an exciting problem!
Our program was simple. Each vet had been interviewed and the youth gave a little two minute synopsis of their interview. A few times, the vets took the mike and shared an experience or two. The program was during dinner, so the evening took about two hours in all. The youth listened. The vets felt appreciated. It was a beautiful evening. The most beautiful thing about the evening was that the kids absolutely gained a new appreciation for these great men who had served in every war since WWII. The stories were fascinating! A new respect and a connection between teens and men from age 40-93. Awesome!
As we were cleaning up, the men lined up along the wall and a photo was taken of them all. I turned from undecorating and cleaning off tables to see these men standing there together and my tears, literally, started to fall. The experiences they've had. Wow. Doug and I discussed one of his uncles and how he would never talk about being at Normandy. We have no idea what sacrifices were made for us to be here. After this chaotic election week of passionately happy and passionately livid winners and losers, it was a great reminder of how wonderful this great nation truly is.