FREDRICKSBURG, Texas (KXAN) - There were a lot of tributes to war veterans this weekend, but none like the Big Band dance at the Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg.
The sounds of Big Band music, veterans, spouses, family, friends and just '40s-era fans all gathered for a special night inside the Hangar Hotel's actual hangar.
"We enjoy being with the veterans. We enjoy the music," said Robert J McClellan, an 84-year-old Air Force veteran. "This is our third year, and we wouldn't miss it for anything the world."
This is a swing-music dance gala, which also attracted much younger fans like Austin's Jennifer Burcham.
"I've always loved this music even though it was before my era, but I've always been attracted to Big Band music," said Burcham, who wore a silk flower in her hair.
Her friend Neslie loves the '40s style of music, too.
"Well, yeah, it's sexy in a very almost modest way," Neslie said.
But underneath all the fun is an important purpose: serving as one of three Fort Hood USO fundraisers hosted each year.
Kelly Ayers is special events manager at the Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg.
"We do a donation to Fort Hood every time we do a dance," Ayers said. "It's also just great to bring people out."
Most of all, it's money that goes toward entertaining and providing for Fort Hood soldiers and their families.
Isabel Hubbard, programs manager for the Fort Hood USO, said the funds raised on this evening will make a difference.
"Tonight is going to make it possible for us to actually be more hands-on and offer more to be able to connect families together," Hubbard said, as she stood to one side of the dance floor.
Robin Crouse, director of the Fort Hood USO, said it is truly a special night.
"I think tonight is reminiscent of America in its great glory days in 1941," Crouse said. "We were a country at war, but we had great entertainment. We had a community that came together. It stands true today like it did in 1941."
As Bill Smallwood's Orchestra swung into the night, it was a fun, meaningful weekend in Fredricksburg, remembering the nation's veterans.
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