If there's any pageantry like Military pageantry, I've not found it. Friday night the 244th Army Ball at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf celebrated its' past, and future both in an unparalleled showing out.

The Army flag ribbon ceremony is something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Each campaign involving the Army, from the revolutionary war to current deployments, is represented by affixing a ribbon to the top of the Army flag. Each ribbon is brought forward by a Veteran of that campaign if possible, and a fellow soldier dressed in period-correct uniform. The Army flag is lowered to allow the ribbon to be attached, and then quickly raised. It illustrates the ongoing sacrifice that is required to feed the machine we call freedom.

The powerful emotions begin to overflow when living veterans begin to carry the ribbons to the stage, starting this year with WWII Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, Who would speak later in the evening. Williams fought in the Battle for Iwo Jima, where he nearly single-handedly kept bunkered Japanese forces at bay using his flamethrower. Flamethrower? How badass is that?

The evening brings out the best we have to offer, a dedicated military with the backing of a grateful nation. The best of the best.