2020 certainly feels like a remix, on repeat, of polka and ska. The ball season is being mixed up as well. Large gatherings are not recommended and military balls are cancelled. Military families are used to going with the ebb and flow and are making plans to celebrate in different ways.
- Dress down to dress up. Without the etiquette of a long ball gown for a ball, dressing up for this years’ military ball can be as casual as families want.
- Watching the service specific message. This summer, Army Senior Leaders released their birthday message. In August, the Coast Guard released their birthday message. In September, the Air Force recognized the resiliency of the force in their birthday message. Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Gilday, released a birthday message in October. The Marine Corps will release the Commandant’s message in November.
- Donating to their favorite organization. Families are adding up the cost of ball tickets, ball dresses, baby-sitting, up-dos, military uniform updates and donating that sum as a way to celebrate the military birthday.
- Support local. A night off without cooking is part of the fun of the military ball. This year families are choosing to purchase a meal from a local restaurant as a way to support local and celebrate the night without cooking.
- No dry cake! Along the same lines as supporting local restaurants, some are choosing a local bakery to buy a dessert to celebrate the ball. No dry sheet cake here!
- Dance Party. Breaking out the dancing shoes is an annual tradition for military balls. A dance party at home, with everyone in the family, will keep the tradition alive with a smaller gathering.
- Outdoor Gathering. Small groups are gathering outside tailgate style, keeping distance between family groups as a way to be together, but remain socially distant.
- Thank a veteran. Making it a family activity and write to veterans at your local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Just like invitations of veterans to military balls, military families are extending their thanks locally.
Ball seasons’ selfies may look different this year, but your military service birthday is worth celebrating. Here is to another year of unknowns and ebb and flow.