Sailors Volunteer for Veterans Day USO Dance

EVERETT, Wash. -- Naval Station Everett (NSE) Sailors volunteered their time to attend the 7th annual Veteran's Day USO dance at the Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett, Wash., Nov. 11.

The free event, attended by NSE Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Coury and Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, featured music performed by the "Route 66" Swing Orchestra. USO Volunteers were on hand distributing free food to NSE Sailors and veterans. Members of Everett's Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) performed the colors ceremony during the event.

The dance is designed as a social event to honor veterans of our country's past wars, as well as the current members of the military, said Deborah Wright, executive administrator for the City of Everett, and director of the event. Hundreds of veterans, and their spouses, from wars ranging from World War II to Iraq were at the dance.

"We are so proud of our past and present military members, and proud to hold an event in their honor," said Wright. "We are also proud to have the Navy involved, they are our country's heroes, and it is a big deal to us."

Wright continued, that even though the event is a celebration of our veterans, it is also meant for remembrance of the sacrifice many have given to defend our country.

"It is our men and women in uniform that have paid the price to keep our country free," she said. "We owe everything to them, and the least we can do is remember their sacrifice, and celebrate their courage."

Several USO members expressed a desire to, "do what they could to help our armed forces," and honor them on Veterans Day.

"As a military spouse for 20 years, I just want to do what I can to give back to our heroes in uniform," said Shirley McGann, a USO volunteer who normally works at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport USO. "They deserve whatever help we can give them," she said.

After a ceremony honoring prisoners of war and missing in action (POW/MIA) personnel, NSE's commanding officer spoke about past, present and future veterans.

"Thank you for your service in making this country the great country that it is," said Coury. "I also have great confidence in the Sailors that are joining our Navy today. They are smart, capable, well-trained, and ready to continue the legacy of a military that protects the innocent, and preserve our freedom."

After Coury and a few others spoke, the dancing began. All ages, veterans, spouses, and Sailors danced to the swing music reminiscent and prominent during the time of our country's, "greatest generation."

Harry Miller, a retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. and veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, expressed his feelings about being able to meet Naval Station Everett Sailors.

"It is an honor to see and meet the young people who will continue the noble traditions of the military that I love, and keep this country safe for the future," said Miller.

Culinary Specialist 1st Class Enrique Torres seemed to be just as impressed - if not more - to have met veterans from past wars.

"It is awe-inspiring to meet the people who served our country through so many wars that I've only read about in the history books," Torres said. "It makes me feel a sense that I am part of something greater than myself. I'm glad that we have this chance to honor those people today."

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