How would you interpret this phrase “were on hand to attend”?
Joseph McCarthy, junior U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was given a rousing ovation last night when, as guest of the Ohio County Republican Women’s Club, he declared bluntly that the fate of the world rests with the clash between the atheism of Moscow and the Christian spirit throughout other parts of the world.
More than 275 representative Republican men and women were on hand to attend the colorful Lincoln Day dinner of the valley women which was held in the Collonnade room of the McLure hotel.
How would you interpret this phrase “were on hand to attend” in the second passage?
Does it mean there were 275 representatives going to attend the dinner?
Does it mean they hadn’t attended the dinner yet?
PS: this extract is taken from a newspaper article dated February 10, 1950.