The Statesville Woman’s Club showed its support for men and women in uniform with a Barbecue for the Troops luncheon raising money for the USO on Thursday.
“Throughout our country’s history, Americans have felt profound appreciation and gratitude for the dedication and sacrifice of our troops and their families. The USO provides a tangible way for all of us to say thank you, as it has for 70 years,” Club President Fran Baker said. “As a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the USO is now and always will be about our troops. Wherever and whenever they go, the USO will be there until everyone comes home.”
In preparation for the event, the women thoroughly decorated their facility in stars and stripes, with everything about the luncheon fashioned in red, white and blue – from the floral arrangements and centerpieces – down to the red velvet cake garnished with white icing and blueberries.
Attendees pledged to the United States and North Carolina flags, and Melody Beaty sang a passionate rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
After lunch, retired Maj. Gen. James Mallory spoke for 50 minutes on the changing face of warfare, the United States military and the future of the global war on terrorism, along with the effect those changes have on the types of support the military needs from civilians.
“The nature of warfare itself has changed, just as our economy has changed from an industrial, mass-production economy, which is what we had in World War I and World War II and into Vietnam. Today, just as our economy is transitioning to an information-based economy, so too the nature of warfare is changing,” Mallory said.
“Now, it’s not so much about quantity as it is about quality because, today, the ability to project power can be accomplished with far fewer troops.”
Because of that shift from brawn to brains, and thanks to advances in medicine, Mallory said many servicemen who would have formerly come home in flag-draped coffins will instead return with life-changing conditions. That, in turn, alters which kinds of help returning troops will need from their nation.
“That is going to be an ongoing struggle and legacy that we will have for a number of years. There’s many, many more young men and women coming home that have had limbs amputated and a lot of traumatic brain injuries,” Mallory said.
“They’re dealing with issues that earlier generations did not deal with as much because those folks earlier didn’t survive their wounds. So we will be taking care of, and we have a debt to take care of, these servicemen and women.”
For more information on the USO’s Barbecue for the Troops campaign, or to organize your own event, visit barbecueforthetroops.org or call 1-855-4USO-BBQ (1-855-487-6227).