Living overseas with my husband working for the foreign service I have had the chance to go to a number of balls: The St. Andrew's Ball (Scottish), Trafalger Ball (British), St Patrick's Ball (Irish), Marine Corps Ball (US) and the Navy SeaBee Ball (US). All of the balls have some sort of opening ceremony, followed by eating, drinking and dancing. Each ball's opening ceremony is moving in it's own way, but hands down the ball that is most likely to wreck my makeup is the Marine Corps Ball.
The opening ceremony is pretty much the same regardless of where the ball is held. There is the address from the Commandant of the Marine Corps which is projected on to a screen for everyone to see. A message from the Secretary of State, which will be read by a guest of honor, at a Embassy Ball generally the Ambassador or the Chargé d'Affaires. High ranking officers will also make speeches. Then there is the cake cutting ceremony, a huge cake will be marched in cut with a sword then a piece offered to first the guest of honor, then the oldest Marine present and finally the youngest marine present. There is always a collective gasp when the birthday of the youngest Marine is announced, and you realize just how old you really are. This year's youngest Marine present was a young (emphasis on young!) woman born in 1989. I will give you moment to recover.
I did video the cake cutting ceremony but opted to use my little point and shoot instead of dragging the big cameras along, which explains the quality of the Wordless Wednesday pictures, so I will spare you that experience but instead will post the Message from the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. This is usually the point at which my make up begins to go wrong and the tears start flowing. It is very moving, expecially with all our brave young men and women in the middle east right now. Grab some kleenex and spend a few minutes remembering those so far away.