We then adjourned to the nearby Club Car Café where a bountiful, delicious buffet awaited our pleasure. And pleasure it was!
Then it was time for the DQS Candlelight Memorial Service which was held in Louisiana's Memorial Plaza on the grounds of the USS KIDD exhibit (it memorializes all Louisianans who have paid the supreme sacrifice in service of their/our country). An A-7E Corsair, Louisiana's Vietnam War Memorial, served as the backdrop for our service. The reading of the names of our KIA's in this setting, accompanied by appropriate and moving music and readings, yielded what many said was one of the best services we have had. Even our guests and the staff of the museum commented on the ceremony and its content. Our thanks to all who participated in or contributed to this effort! I should note that Joe Belardo, who normally sets up and orchestrates this for us, was unable to attend due to late developing family issues. However - with phone calls, overnight mail and the more than able assistance of George Nagelschmidt and Bruce Geiger (this might explain why George, Bruce and I were 'missing' at times - i.e. planning and etc.) and all of you who stepped forward to read names, readings or poems - we got it done in fine fashion! To Joe and all involved - including my family who went back to the hotel to get the candies that I had forgotten - THANKS!
Saturday -July 10th - after gathering outside for group photos, we settled in for the 1999 DQS Banquet- a blessing by Chaplain Dale Childers followed the POW-MIA Missing Man presentation by Jim Smith. As always, this ceremony was very moving and mean-ingful. The tasty offerings from the buffet were roundly enjoyed, as were the offerings of Ms. Ann Vidrine who sang, fiddled, played the accordion and shared bits of Louisiana and Cajun history and lore with us. Her lively performance and 'Cajun talk' were both interesting and entertaining.
Following our filling, pleasurable meal, our program began with the sharing of music, words and information. New members/reunion attendees were recognized, welcomed and given a round of applause. Sadly, we noted the recent loss of all too many loved ones by members of our Association. This included the father of John Huelsenbeck, who many of us had come to know. A tribute to "Anzio 43" (John's dad), that was written by Joe Belardo for the funeral, was shared with us by Jim Smith.
Special Recognitions were then presented. Larry & Sue Thurnherr belatedly received a Certificate of Appreciation for their efforts in support of our 1998 Reunion in Knoxville, Tennessee. Walt Hatcher received a Certificate of Appreciation for his role as 'Point Man' for this year's reunion in Baton Rouge. A Certificate of Appreciation for Richard Shand was read, and later mailed to him, for his efforts and contributions in providing and maintaining a Web Site for DQS. Plaques were presented to Clyde Larsen, Red Sigle and Jim Smith. Clyde, our present Treasurer/Product Sales Coordinator, has previously held positions of increasing responsibility and involvement; as well as being a longtime, faithful member. He (with able assistance from his wife, Janet) is very deserving. Red, though somewhat new to the Association, has made several valuable and appreciated contributions to our efforts. These include (but are not limited to) taking over prime responsibility for keeping our Roster up-to-date (along with other related information -KIA List, Taps List, Dues Paid List & Etc.) via data base and upgrading our abilities in this area, providing and printing mailing labels for the newsletter, maintaining and distributing info via a DQS E-Mail List ... and more. Jim, a longtime member who has previously served as an Officer, provides us with the POW-MIA Table Setting and continues to be a faithful, contributing member that we can count on.