On January 12, the James Clemens High School JROTC held a military ball. If you don’t know what a military ball is, it is basically a formal dinner and dance, also known as a mess. We first post the colors and sing the National Anthem. Then we say a toast to the President of the United States Donald Trump, the Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, the Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark A. Milley, the Commander of the US Army Cadet Command Major General Christopher P Hughes, The Principal of James Clemens High School Dr. Brian Clayton, the Senior Army Instructor of James Clemens High School Major Rezell Linen and the Army Instructor of James Clemens High School Sergeant Major Samuel McCray. Most importantly we toasted to the Fallen Comrades. We also set up a vacant table which was reserved to honor our brave and selfless American military members who have died defending America and the freedom we enjoy, those who have not been returned to us after being taken prisoners, and those who went missing and have not found their way back home. We set the table there so that they were there in spirit. We should never forget about the brave soldiers and all that they have done to protect us.
I would like to explain the items on the the table for the fallen comrades. The table was round, to show our everlasting concern for our fallen and missing. The tablecloth is white, to symbolize the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms. The single red rose, was displayed in a vase to remind us of the lives of the fallen comrades. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, a symbol of our continued determination to always remember our fallen comrades and display the patriotism that is America. A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those who will never return. A pinch of salt symbolized the tears endured by the friends and families of those who have not returned. The glass was inverted, for they could not toast with us. The chair was empty because they are no longer with us.
After the fallen comrades speech, we ate a fabulous dinner. During the dinner, we had an activity called the Grog where violators of the mess are obliged to publicly drink from the grog bowl in front of the mess attendees. This Grog was filled with lemon juice, hot sauce, sodas, a sock and more. The tradition of drinking grog originated with the British Navy. If you are sent to the Grog you go up and salute to it, then turn around to the crowd and drink every single drop. Then the cadet takes the cup and dumps over head for any left behind drops, then salutes to it again and then walks off oh so proudly.
There was a magnificent ceremony where some were crowned the Royalty of the Ball. First was the charming Prince, Cadet Grant Peart, then the gorgeous Princess 1LT Cadet Cassidy VanOostrom. Next we declared the King, Cadet Brennan Bush and lastly the lovely Queen, Cadet Megan Lawrence. Before the end of the ceremony the seniors spoke of their time in JROTC. After their memorable speeches, we retire the colors. The military ball was a great experience, I have only been in JROTC for a week and I already enjoy every second. I can’t wait for next year’s Ball!