We had a ball anyway…

They no longer call the National Guard Birthday Ball a “Ball.” It is now a “Commemoration.”

Either way, we went on December 11, 2010 and had a great time.

I’m kind of glad that they changed the name. Calling it a Ball is a bit deceptive. It really is more like a banquet.

I remember the first time my husband asked me to join him. He was in the Reserves then and we had been dating for several months. I was very excited. Since I am all about the dress, I asked him about the attire and he said that it was formal. “Like a prom dress,” he said.

Of course I went out and bought a fancy new dress and imagined an evening of dancing and drinking champagne and any other detail a princess fairy tale could conjure. While I was not disappointed in my Prince Charming of an escort, nor the Ball in general, it did not meet my magical expectations whatsoever.

First of all, I did not have to buy a prom dress. Semi formal will do. Every year I swear that I am not going to go out and buy a new dress, but I always do. He not only gets to, but has to wear the same thing each time, so it is no problem for him.

I’ve learned not to spend too much and have finally figured out how to be dressed up and comfortable at the same time.

I had a lot of practice with the UH ROTC Dining Out events. Dining Out is also a better term than “Ball”



My favorite “Ball” was in 2008. It was our first National Guard Ball and I wore my wedding dress from the year before. We were still enjoying the afterglow of newlyweddedness (I like to think we still sort of are.)

We saw our friends Mishan and James and I was perfectly comfortable and relaxed, which always makes for a great evening.

Second of all, dancing is not the focus of the evening. There are several ceremonies to which I have become accustomed over the years: presenting the Colors, toasts and after dinner speeches.

The entertainment is usually a military band, not designed for ballroom dancing. The DJ comes on after the Colors are retired and we are usually so tired ourselves at this point that it is time for us to go home.

This year, they renamed it a Commemoration. That totally works for me. We had a very nice time.

The fact that it was held at the JW Marriot Ihilani Resort and Spa Hokulani Ballroom was a big plus. Not only is it beautiful there, but it is also close to home. We did not have to fight traffic in and out of Waikiki on a Saturday night.