The Alexander Stirling chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted several Veterans Day ceremonies last week, but none were like the United Service Organization Dance held Nov. 14 at the Louisiana War Veterans Home in Jackson.
In its third year, the USO Dance is a different kind of tribute.
Co-hosted by the Jackson Tourism Enhancement Committee, the Veterans Home and eight-piece big band, Rosie and the Swinging Riveters, of Livingston Parish, the event featured music, dancing, prizes, food and refreshments.
Rosie and the Swinging Riveters, led by Robert Reynolds on drums and vocals, and Tracey Ardoin, as Rosie, on lead vocals, performed 1940s songs by artists such as Ray Charles, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and many others from the era.
Many of the World War II veterans in attendance reminisced about dancing with their sweethearts and their own USO experiences, DAR member Beth Dawson said.
“If I had my wife with me and could get up out of this wheelchair, we’d put all these young people dancing to shame,” Air Force veteran Tom Miller said.
He and the other residents, all veterans, had a great time listening to the band, whose members are from the Denham Springs, Walker and Watson areas. Dawson said the band donated its time to perform at the USO-themed event.
Every April, Rosie and the Swinging Riveters sponsor a World War II re-enactment in Walker that culminates in a USO show.
“The money we raise at the re-enactment, as well as at the performance, benefits the Louisiana Veterans Home here in Jackson,” Reynolds said.
Caterer Connie Landry, of Clinton, donated her services, providing sandwiches, muffulettas, cupcakes and other refreshments.
Jackson Tourism Enhancement Committee’s Jim Hendrickson, an Air Force veteran who served during the Vietnam war, emceed the event.
Veterans Home administrator Jon Salter and staff mailed invitations, decorated, set up the stage and arranged for the band to perform.
Door prizes were awarded, along with special awards for best costume, won by Justin Prejean, and most spirited, won by D.H. Goldsby’s table.
Prizes were donated by East Feliciana Parish businesses.