A toast is a gesture of honor to a person or organization (such as the President of the United States or the United States Air Force) prior to, during, or at the conclusion of a meal (often should be accomplished prior to dessert service). If accomplished prior to the meal, toast should follow the invocation. Champagne is a favorite beverage for toasting, but any wine is appropriate. You would not offer a toast with a mixed drink or after dinner liqueur. Non-drinkers who want to participate in toasts should toast with wine but only touch the glass to their lips.
Non-drinkers or anyone else, should never toast with water; such toasts are done only when honoring service members who are prisoners of war, missing in action, or deceased.
The person or persons receiving the toast do not stand or touch their glass; to do so would pay honor to one’s self. In offering the toast, the toastmaster, host, or master of ceremonies stands, asks guests to stand and makes the appropriate toast. At a large dinner, all guests may stand, or the toastmaster may state, “Military members, please stand, guests and ladies may remain seated.” Either way is acceptable, but we strongly recommend the toastmaster or master of ceremonies give specific instruction as to who stands before he or she actually proposes the toasts. At a home dinner party, the host should stand, but all other dinner guests and the honorees should remain seated.
Toasts to persons killed in action, missing in action, or prisoners of war should be made with water. The toast “One More Roll” was written and first proposed by our service members in North Vietnam prisoner of war camps where only water was available for toasting.
“We toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the skies, and were gently caught by God’s own hands to be with him on high.”
“To dwell among the soaring clouds they’ve known so well before, from victory roll to tail chase at heaven’s very door.”
“And as we fly among them there we’re sure to hear their plea, “Take care my friend, watch you six, and do one more roll for me.”
To our comrades, killed in action, missing in action or prisoners of war”
Response: “Hear, hear.”