On May 16, 2012, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending a â€œSalute Our Troopsâ€ welcome ceremony at the Palazzo.Â Wounded Warriors from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, were special guests of the Palazzo for an all-expense-paid, four-day vacation in Las Vegas.
Flown to Las Vegas by Southwest Airlines, the eighty-some warriors and spouses were given a red carpet welcome at the hotel by a huge crowd, estimated to be close to a thousand, of Nellis airmen, hotel guests, Palazzo employees and the general public.Â They filed into the hotel to the patriotic strains of â€œStars and Stripes Foreverâ€ and thunderous applause.Â I doubt if even Michael Jackson or Elvis himself could have generated such an enthusiastic welcome.
The ceremony was held in the hotel atrium by the waterfall.Â The hotel went all-out in elaborate decorations, with flags of all sizes everywhere, while everybody was waving miniature American Flags.
The stars of the show were of course our wounded guests, distinguished by their blue t-shirts, some in wheel chairs, some amputees, burn victims and others with unseen wounds.
The Nellis Honor Guard did its usual flawless presentation of the colors, followed by the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance by students from the Adelson School.
Andy Abboud, Sr. Vice President for Government Relations for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event.Â Sheldon Adelson, President of the Sands Corporation and a Charter Member of the Armed Forces Foundation, was the featured speaker.Â He thanked the many sponsors of the event, which in addition to the Sands Corporation, include Southwest Airlines, Nascar, Omaha Steaks, the Blue Man Group and others.Â Mr. Adelsonâ€™s love for America and support for the troops was genuine and heartfelt.Â He related how his father immigrated to the United States in 1912 from Lithuania, and taught his son to love and respect his adopted country.Â Mr. Adelson served in the Army during WWII, but the closet he came to the war was the two years he spent at Governorâ€™s Island in New York.
When the ceremony ended, the wounded warriors were escorted to their rooms by hotel staff.Â They will be treated like top-level VIPs for the next four days. The Palazzoâ€™s 3,000 all-suite rooms feature amenities like marble baths, flat screen TVs and remote controlled Roman shades.Â It is also home to top-drawer restaurants including Wolfgang Puckâ€™s and Emeril Lagasseâ€™s.
Now that sounds like a fun four-day vacation!
Thanks from us, too.Â Enjoy yourselves.