This year, Ellie was participating. I was asked by my friend and her teacher if I would be willing to offer my assistance. I agreed and showed up to wrangle and corral. Little did I know that I would be sitting smack dab in the middle of the flag. Did I know the words to the songs? No. Did I know the actions to the songs? No. Was I woefully underprepared? Yes. But I was given a red shirt to wear and could tell people to be quiet. Hence, my qualifications were complete. It was a different experience to be part of the flag rather than just part of the audience. But since that was the position I was in, I was unable to get any pictures except for a few before it started.
This really is a massive event. They sing probably 10 songs and there are performances in between them. My favorite is Jean's Dancing Ladies. You can only join the group if you are over 50. The oldest is, well, she was 92 three years ago (and every year since it seems--it must be her "39"), so I don't know how old she really is, but she always ends solo doing a bit of a jig and then ending in a split. She gets the biggest round of applause and standing ovation every year, and every year I say, "I'm going to be part of that group." What's frightening is that my years until eligibility get fewer and fewer. I only have seven more years, though, until I'm in, but I'll be awesome at it, that's for sure. In fact, by then I may have choreographed my final dance festival performance at Westmore!
There are several moving songs--dedicated to the military, crew of the Columbia space shuttle, and patriotism. The military song makes me bawl every time. It really brings home the sacrifice that these men and women offer for the citizens of our country. There's also a very cool visual song which closes the program where they turn off all the lights in the Marriott Center and the kids use flashlights. The picture is from a couple of years ago when we went and could get a better shot.
I must say that when I got home I had a massive headache and ate a pint of Peanut Butter Passion ice cream. (I looked at the nutrition information afterwards; it didn't help my headache.) I'm glad I was able to go, though, and help out.