Skip to comments.I worked really hard on this thread about the W2 Ball, so you'd better enjoy it!
Posted on 01/22/2005 6:01:46 PM PST by tgslTakoma
My report, such that it is, of Inauguration Day (as I sit here in snowy MD watching the events of that day being replayed on CSPAN):
My daughter and I awoke at 6:30am on Inauguration day, as she had an important date with the Secret Service at the Pentagon. We had been up late the night before, her polishing brass until 2am and me hemming her ball dress and making last minute things for the W2 Ball until 3:30am. I dropped her off at her school at 8:30am and met with Command Sergeant Major John McConnell to discuss last minute info about the parade, the Color Guard and the W2Ball.
Because the kids and their buses would be searched and secured at the Pentagon before going to the parade, and then the buses would be in a secured zone at the end of the parade (that nobody from outside would be allowed into), it was decided that my daughter would ride to the W2 Ball location with the JROTC instructor (Sgt. Crocker) and the the Color Guard. The kids were all excited about the day ahead, but no doubt dreading having to stand, and march in the freezing cold all day. I thanked CSM McConnell for all his hard work and told him I would see him and his wife and the Color Guard at the W2 Ball later in the evening.
With that settled, I went back to my house to load up all the ball stuff (decorations, raffle tickets, prizes, wristbands, posters...) and our luggage for the night. It's a darn good thing I have a gas-guzzling SUV, because it definitely would not have fit into a Mini Cooper.
I drove down to the hotel at around 11:30am, and talked by phone to Kristinn, who told me that they were still in line at a checkpoint at 7th and D St. When I arrived at the hotel, Angelwood met me and we offloaded all my cargo. Angelwood was fighting off a monster cold, so was feeling a little run-down. I checked in with Kristinn again and he told me it would be impossible to get through security in anything resembling a timely manner, so (with much sadness) I gave up on getting to see my daughter and her school marching in this once-in-a-lifetime event, and Angelwood and I got started setting things up.
We had been working only a short time before ELS and Exit148 arrived and pitched in as well. Angelwood had to leave a few times to check in with Tommi, the hotel events lady and Sharon, our very hard-working sound wizard. Sharon had a monster of a job getting all the sound equipment and electricity requirements straightened out, but she did; and for that we are all very, very grateful.
As Angelwood, Exit148, ELS and I were decorating the dining room area, I met up with Basil and Mr. Basil as they were returning from their fruitless (and harrowing) attempt at entering the parade security checkpoint at 7th and D St. Basil can tell you her story. Very scary!
After Basil had a chance to decompress in her room she came downstairs to pitch in with decorating. She and ELS headed over to the ballroom to hang stars, with the help of Robert the ladder guy, a hotel employee. Alas, 3D-Joy, who was going to be bringing fishing line to hang the stars, was hung up in the massive human traffic jam/near riot at the infamous checkpoint, and had not arrived at the hotel yet. We started using ribbon that I had packed for emergency use, but quickly ran out.
Basil headed over to the hotel bar to look for a Freeper willing to run across Thomas Circle to the CVS for more ribbon; and she came back with Freeper FourtySeven and his friend, a freeper lurker. The guys braved the cold and the leftists marching by to bring back ribbon - and saved the day! Thanks guys!
By this time Robert the ladder guy had left for the day, so I started climbing up the 12' ladder to hang the stars; but FourtySeven came back into the room and took over that job, doing a fantastic service for the cause, too, BTW.
Lovely ladies Basil and ELS held the ladder steady for him; and we were all entertained by the sound checks and rehearsal serenade by Capitol Offense.
As it neared to 5pm Sauropod and Hellinahandcart arrived and started hanging up signs and posters; and BillF, BufordP, 3D-JOY and many other DC Chapter members began trickling in from the parade and they started pitching in wherever needed. The hotel had a sit-down dinner set up for event staff and the band, because they knew we wouldn't have a chance to eat during the ball; and how glad I am that I sat down and ate a few bites before running off to get changed and check in with my kid via voicemail, as they were still marching! The band was still jamming as I went upstairs; I don't know how long they played or if they ever stopped to eat. They were having a great time, that's for sure!
Kristinn arrived at the hotel at around this time and quickly got involved in last minute stuff downstairs. Everyone was calling him on his cell phone, and Angelwood and I were trying to get him upstairs to change into his tux. Eventually that happened, (at around 8pm!) as others took their places at the registration tables.
The doors opened at around 6:30pm and at the check-in tables John Robinson and Tami handled the guest lists, media lists and the name tags; BillF, Exit148, The Glaswegian's son and friend, and others were busily affixing wristbands to guests, VIPs and others. People were lined up into the hotel lobby and around the perimeter all the way out the door! The Glaswegian made an executive decision, and told everyone to register now and come back later for their name badges when things thinned out at registration. That decision got the line moving much better. Thanks Glaswegian!
Another quick aside regarding The Glaswegian... he had dropped off a 4' x 8' Bush/Cheney campaign sign in Kristinn's room (where many men changed from parade clothing into tuxes that evening). I arrived at the room while Steve0113 and his lovely wife Nina0113 were changing, and noticed the sign leaning up against the bar. I made an "executive decision" and placed the sign, with assistance, into the huge 8th floor window in the room. It wasn't until the next day that I realized the window fronted on Thomas Circle; and what a great place for a HUGE Bush/Cheney sign! Thanks for the sign, Glaswegian. It is at the valet station in the hotel awaiting your pickup.
My daughter checked in with me at some time near 6:30pm, and said that the Color Guard would be late getting to the Ball, because some of the buses were still stuck in traffic. I passed that word along to Kristinn, who rescheduled our official opening ceremony until they arrived, of course. Who could begin a ball saluting our troops without a Color Guard?
The Color Guard arrived at nearly 8pm, my daughter ran upstairs to change out of her uniform and into her party clothes, and I ran downstairs to find the Color Guard - who had already found Kristinn; and they were going over their program in a service hall. To my deep dismay, I also discovered that our "Missing Man" table had been accidentally taken by someone who didn't realize the significance of it. The hotel rounded up another table and clean tablecloth, and a couple of military Freepers (whose names now escape me, but thank you, guys) helped the hotel staff reset the table properly for the tribute. With that all set, it was showtime.
The lights were dimmed and Sharon, our sound lady cued our opening theme (The Munsters TV theme song) while the beam of the spotlight swirled around the room. The first man to literally run up onstage was Michael Graham, local WMAL radio host, (The Michael Graham Show, weekdays 9am - noon) and proud Freeper (suspects), who welcomed us all to this great event and entertained us with several minutes of political stand-up comedy. Thank you, Michael Graham! He then introduced our emcee for the evening, Kristinn Taylor.
Kristinn got things rolling with the introduction of the St. John's College High School Color Guard, fresh from the cold and mean streets of Washington, DC and the Inaugural parade; for the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. Our Freeper family member who was to sing the National Anthem was sick so we played an instrumental version of the song, and the crowd of Freepers in the ballroom spontaneously burst into song themselves (God love 'em!); and they knew all of the words, of course!
After retiring the Colors, Kristinn asked for a moment of silent prayer, and then led the audience in toasts to the Commander-in-Chief, our allies, the Vice President, and each branch of the US armed services, as Freepers Hear-Hear'd, Hoo-ah'd, and Hoo-ya'd and all the rest. He then called everyone's attention to the Missing Man table at the front of the stage, and explained its significance to us all.
Next up, according to my photos - as my memory is pretty much shot from sleep deprivation and the stress of the day, was Sauropod's absolutely fantastic, fabulous, stunningly superb video production. The crowd watched in rapt attention, as 'Pod did his magic.
Up next was Nick Danger and the Free Republic Eagle Awards. My camera battery was dying and my flash shots didn't turn out. I quickly repaired to the lobby where I changed out camera batteries.
After the awards were presented to the winners who were present (Falcon of the year-Nikki Mendicino, Posters of the year-Buckhead and TankerKC, and Freeper of the year-Interesting Times), came a series of brief speeches by author Richard Poe, former POW and anti-Kerry activist Mike Benge, and a group of Iraqis who have become good friends of the DC Chapter over the past few years. Nofel Al-jazairy spoke to the W2 Ball attendees and honored guests about his deep gratitude to Americans who helped free his countrymen. Nofel gave a personal "Thank You" from his heart, to the mothers and fathers of US military members.
Then Kristinn brought the two Vannas onstage to draw tickets so he could announce the raffle winners, but because I was handing out prizes (pajamas, of course!) I didn't take any photos. The winners seemed to get a kick out of their prizes.
Next up on stage was impressionist Billy Finch, who did some fantastic impressions of famous people (Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Carson). Here is a photo of him doing a great Ray Charles singing "America the Beautiful." All of Billy's impressions were very well-received by the audience. Thank you, Mr. Finch.
During Billy Finch's routine, offstage, Kristinn and I gave Buckhead a gift from the DC Chapter, as a token of our appreciation for taking down Dan Rather and CBS. What was his prize, you ask? A fine plush terrycloth robe for him to Freep in! May he continue to catch the MSM in more lies, fraud and forgeries for many years to come. Buckhead, we salute you, sir!
TankerKC, I never was able to find you. We have a goody bag for you, too.
Then it was time to dance! Kristinn introduced Governor Huckabee and the Capitol Offense band, and the real partying began! The dance floor was packed immediately, and dancers spilled out onto the carpeted area of the ballroom.
I ran out into the lobby to grab a drink and a smoke... While out there, I caught pix of some more Freepers, including Jimmy Valentine's brother, Kristinn and Nofel, jtmac40 and his lovely wife, Trueblackman and his also very lovely fiance. Yes, ladies, I just said "fiance." Trueblackman is getting married. We talked for awhile and I can report that his fiance is a very nice lady, so we can't be too jealous. She will take good care of him, as he will her, I am sure. Two kids in love.
I was preparing to head back into the ballroom when I spotted my great long-distance Freeper pal pjb819 and we went off to the hotel bar to smoke and gab. The photos we took in there didn't turn out too well, either. Oh well. We had a good time catching up on one another's life events and gossip, too.
Finally late in the night, I did manage to get into the ballroom again and got to dance with a special fella during the band's last number. And then the ball ended. Governor Huckabee stayed onstage afterward to meet and greet Freepers, who were lining up to thank him for a wonderful show. Thank you, Governor Huckabee and Capitol Offense!
A whole bunch of us headed out to the hotel bar to chat some more and celebrate.
My goodness, I saw so many familiar faces and old friends, but the night went by too fast for me to get to greet and visit with everyone. Next time we need a three day party!
God Bless you all, and EAGLES UP!
LOL, great title.
Ya done Good!
(really great shot of Kristinn and Noefel!)
THanks! I thoroughly enjoyed this!
Was great meeting you -- everyone involved in organizing this did an amazing job -- first rate all the way!
Well, what can we say except thanks.
You guys in the DC Chapter are geographically destined to serve those of us away from DC. We thank you, really thank you for your continued efforts and dedication.
The Ball was a great event and if there were hitches, they weren't noticed.
You should be proud of the Color Guard..... great job by super serious dedicated kids.
And our sincere thanks to you for putting this review together!
Tonk, for your ping list. This excellent and detailed report supplements DFU's report that you pinged out earlier.
God bless YOU all. What a great and well-deserved party!
this was my first as I've only been a Freeper since September. And my husband was very impressed with the whole thing. Now he isn't yelling at me to get off here. In fact this morning he asked me what was going on at FreeRepublic. It's truly a miracle! I feel like I belong.
I loved this!
Thank you for allowing us to share in your party.
If you're living in Takoma Park, MD (?) I know that you are directly in the front line of the lefties and I admire you all the more for your part. I spent my share of time there, but almost all of it in the Takoma Tap Room or the Sligo Inn where most of us weren't consulted before the City Council declared Takoma Park a "nuclear-free" zone.
Illustrated text. Way cool. Hope one and all had a fabulous time.
I was there in spirit only. Darn.
Super thread! Many heartfelt thanks to all the FReepers who made the Ball a huge success. We had a wonderful time, it was a night to remember!
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