The Army Reserve Family was celebrated with a reception at the National Archives Rotunda and Auditorium. Tribute was given to the Family members and loved ones for supporting the military service of their Soldier and their decision to reenlist. Gratitude and respect was demonstrated for the sacrifices behind the support and service of the Military Family.
Laughter, pride, and appreciation filled the auditorium during the awards ceremony. As each Soldier and Guest walked across the stage to receive their coin and certificate, they shook hands with the Commander of Army Reserve Careers Division, COL Gary U. Bullard. Next, was CSM Michael D. Schultz, the Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve, followed by the Command Sergeant Major of Army Reserve Careers Division, CSM Connie F. Commenia. The 2010 Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year, MSG Terry A. Timmons, who served as the Platoon Sergeant for the week, was also recognized.
As COL Bullard passed a coin and certificate to one of the Soldiers and the Soldier reached to shake his hand, an unexpected yet familiar noise filled the auditorium. There was silence, at first, as everyone knew what needed and should happen next – the noise was the sound of the coin hitting the floor. There’s a tradition involved when this happens and it’s much like the tradition of what should happen when a Soldier drops their weapon. COL Bullard and the Soldier just stopped and stared initially. Then, the Soldier turned to his wife, standing next to him, and handed her the items in his hands. Without further hesitation, he dropped to the floor and began the tradition of “dropping with it”. Much to everyone’s pleasure, COL Bullard followed, but not with just the standard push-up. He went above and beyond and added a midair clap between each push-up. CSM Schultz joined in almost simultaneously with COL Bullard and added a one-arm push-up at the end. CSM Commenia applauded as she cheered them on, and I have no doubt that if it was not for the classy dress she had on, she would have joined in on the motivating event. Furthermore, if space allowed, I believe every Soldier and able body in the room would have participated in the “drop with it” tradition. Applause, laughter, and an occasional “hoooah” echoed through the room. Check out the video of the event on this link, Drop With It.
There was other entertainment as well. Soldiers of the 198th Army Reserve Band from Rochester, New York and the 380th Army Reserve Band from Richmond, Virginia, provided musical entertainment. This in itself deserves recognition, because unless you understand the dynamics behind how the Army Reserve Band is organized, then it is difficult to gain full appreciation for what they do. When the Army Reserve Band is requested for a military function, it is very typical for the band members to be assembled from different units. This is mostly determined by availability. What I find amazing and also an indication of each band members’ talent is that sometimes those chosen to play at events, have never performed together before. If they are notified in enough advance notice, the band can prepare and practice during Battle Assemblies prior to the event; however, this is not always possible. This is why being able to read music fluently is a prerequisite, and also why an audition is most often a requirement before being accepted into the organization.
Since the dinner was to be served in the Rotunda of the National Archives, and with the understanding that there are many tourists who visit the National Archives, you can probably visualize the sense of urgency in turning the Rotunda into a dining room. SSG Astrid Lopez timed how long it took the catering team to turn the Rotunda into a dining room for fifty-six Soldiers, their Family members and guests, Command, and staff. If I remember correctly it was about thirty-one minutes. The Culinary Arts Team, who is compromised of Soldiers in the Army Reserve, prepared the main course of the meal that followed the awards presentation. The atmosphere was elegant and the food delicious, not to mention very much appreciated given the hunger in the room.
Camaraderie and Family were the highlight of the evening during the reception and dinner on the final evening of the Quality of Life & Family Readiness Conference and National Capitol Reenlistment Ceremony. Once again, appreciation goes out to the Soldiers who chose to raise their right hand in reenlistment and to the Family members, loved ones and friends who supported their decision to do so.