Oh, those cwazy uniforms; or, no wonder Valerie Jarrett was confused.

May I quote myself, writing about the beautiful and moving Battle of Midway Commemoration in San Francisco last year?

The event was a formal one, which is much more beautiful than a civilian black tie affair.  The women, of course, presented a familiar and pleasing picture.  They had on lovely dresses ranging from safe (but always elegant) black to a rainbow of jewel-like colors.  Their hair was piled high or cascaded down in graceful ringlets, curls or curtains of silky hair.  Their make-up said, appropriately, “Here I am and aren’t I lovely?”  I expected that.

It was the men who were such a treat — and a surprise.  To me, “formal” means black tie.  It’s a good look, since it’s the rare man who isn’t elevated slightly by the dignity of a black jacket, pleated shirt, and neatly tied black tie.  Add in a cummerbund, and he’s ready to face anything.  I am, therefore, not complaining about traditional formals.  It’s just that, after having seen Navy formal wear, traditional men’s formal wear will, forever after, seem a little bit bland.

As I knew, but had never seen, Navy formal wear is white.  The uniform therefore brings the light in a room up, rather than down.  On their arms and shoulders, the officers wear the golden insignia of their rank.  I know now, although I didn’t understand that fact when I walked in, that many of the men present boasted an Admiral’s rank.  There was no shortage, however, of other ranks, whether chiefs or captains or lieutenants. The young men and women in attendance who had not (yet) attained the higher ranks were nattily attired from head to toe (or, if they were women, from head to knee) in whites.  The only exceptions were the two tall, trim, young Marines who were resplendent in their dark blue uniforms, lavishly decorated with gold and red.

Every uniformed guest had a variety of “mini-medals” on his (or her) left chest, over his (or her) heart.  The higher the rank, or the longer the years of service, the more of these exquisite medallions adorned the wearer — exquisite both because they are beautiful on their own terms, as mere objets, and because each represents a special level of accomplishment, dedication or bravery.

I’ll admit to being a girl (an aged girl, sadly) who still gets a thrill from a uniform.  I can’t help but think, though, that my possibly silly attitude ranks higher than that shown by White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.  She clearly believes that one uniform is pretty much like another — and that none are that special:

According to our tipster, Jarrett was seated at the head table along with several other big-name politicians and a handful of high-ranking military officials. As an officer sporting several stars walked past Jarrett, she signaled for his attention and said, “I’d like another glass of wine.”


White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, who was seated next to Jarret, began “cracking up nervously,” our tipster said, but no one pointed out to Jarrett that the man sporting a chestful of medals was not her waiter.

“The guy dutifully went up and got her a glass of wine, and then came back and gave it to her and took a seat at the table,” our tipster said. “Everyone is in tuxedos and gowns at this thing, but the military people are in full dress uniform.”

“There was no shortage of waiters either,” the tipster added.

It’s great to know that the world’s knowledgeable intellectuals are firmly in control of Washington, D.C.’s levers of power.

Hat tip:  American Thinker, which got it from Instapundit

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  1. spiff580 says

    Kudos go to the officer for handling this ignoramis like he did and making her look like the fool she is.  At least that is my take.  Like the Barbara Boxer incident (call me senator), to all except the most biased observer, there was no question who the fool was/is.

  2. Kirk Strong says

    Then sometimes it works the other way.  One of the difficulties of being an enlisted man in Washington, DC is that there are so many officers from other countries around with unfamiliar uniforms, and, as a courtesy, any enlisted man in uniform is required to salute them.
    For this reason, I usually wore civvies when I went downtown, but one afternoon I forgot and went in uniform.  Walking along Constitution Avenue, I encountered a man in a green uniform with lots of brass all over it, so to be safe I saluted him, and he saluted balk.  I turned a corner, walked a couple of blocks and passed a parking lot where all of the attendants were wearing the exact same uniform!
    Oh, well.  At least he saluted me back!
    This is not, however, to excuse Valerie Jarrett who should know better.  And in any case, when in doubt, courtesy, not arrogance, is the rule.

  3. bizcor says

    Just another one of the many indignities this president has brought to this country.

    It also is another reason to admire and support our men and women in uniform as they carry themselves with dignity.

  4. spiff580 says

    @ Kirk,  LOL, now that is funny.  From my perspective you were just cya and playing it safe.  I hated how the subdued rank sometimes made it hard to tell the rank of someone until they were right on top of you.  The AF had it right with the big ol stripes on the sleeves.  No question who the enlisted and officer is.

  5. says

    Spiff, may be a play on the whole “no saluting” while in combat rule, given how easy it is for snipers to distinguish who is or isn’t an officer from who salutes first.
    The AF, not being limited by such, didn’t need to have a tradition on dress differences there.

  6. says

    Stay Classy, Girl…..you represent your Administration just fine……
    The officer did the right thing, but I’ll believe that Valerie Jarrett “made a mistake” when pigs fly.  This was a case of a purposeful diss to an officer of the organization that makes her pitiful use of her freedom possible.
    B*****ds, every one of them.  And G-d bless our military guys!


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