Dinner was held as a "dining-in" at Mitchell Hall. Tablecloths, centerpieces, champagne and silver all helped transform the room into something suitable for a fancy affair.
After socializing for a bit, we all found our name cards and took our seats within the cadets' squads. (Go Bulldawgs!)
The event began with official toasts to leaders in the military and in the country. It was really neat! After toasts, they passed out the rings. You would've thought it was Christmas morning in there! The cadets weren't allowed to open them until the Ring Christening ceremony an hour later, though, so Matt just stared longingly at his ring ...
But I got to peak! I even snuck a picture while he had his back turned. Love it! Totally worth the almost $1,000 :-). Crazy that so many cadets spend $5K+ on theirs.
After dinner, we heard from, Keni Thomas, who earned a Bronze Star for Valor as a squad leader in the real-life Black Hawk Dawn.
He talked about Black Hawk Down, obviously, and about leadership & character. It was really inspiring, especially there at the Academy where all the cadets are such high-quality people. Keni is a country singer now and was actually on the Grand Ol' Opry on Monday, so at the end he sang his song, "Not Me." Listen to it if you get a chance!
Next: The Ring Christening (everyone's favorite part)!