Arena Stage hosts DC-area service members for a night of food and entertainment

- It was a special evening for a number of United States military members, veterans, wounded warriors and their families Friday night. Arena Stage hosted its 5th annual Military Thanksgiving.

Through the United Service Organizations, several hundred guests were treated to dinner and then a performance of the Tony Award-winning musical, “Oliver!” which is now playing at the theater.

“Who could ask for more on a Friday after Thanksgiving?” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). “First a feast, then a feast of entertainment.”

“I'm usually deployed this time of year when I have deployed,” said one Air Force service member who attended Friday night's event. “A lot of times, I’ve been gone away on Thanksgiving. [My kids] are all born during November, so for us to all be here at the same time is kind of fun.”

“It's really touching and I think it's fitting, not just for me, but for all the other people,” said Mike Jones. “I see a lot of young people who are probably active and I think it's really fitting and terrific that they do this.”

“We're excited to be here,” said Nonniekaye Shelburne. “It's a great cultural event for our family to be able to share for the holidays and we're just thrilled the USO is hosting us.”

“We hope you understand that we have not invented words good enough to say thank you for all you do for our country,” said Norton.

“It makes me very proud that they recognize veterans,” said Gregory Beresford.

“It's one of our proudest events,” said Edgar Dobie, executive producer for Arena Stage. “As a citizen and I think as a nation, we all should have at the top of our lists of things that we're thankful for at this time of year is the fact that we have a voluntary military service and that there are people are prepared to step into harm’s way to make us feel safe and protected at home.”

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