Friday, November 11, 2011
Happy 236th Birthday
One of our yearly traditions involves taking a moment to celebrate the founding of our Corps, better known as the Marine Corps Birthday. No matter where Marines are stationed, you'll certainly hear them wishing each other happy birthday. If circumstances arise, the celebration will often include some sort of cake cutting, even if it is simply a pound cake pulled from an MRE pouch in the field. It's a day we all reflect on our heritage and honor those who served in the Corps before us. I've spent a several birthdays deployed - Iraq, Liberia, Turkey - and we've always celebrated the birthday in one form or another. This year was no different.
Due to the size of the FOB (Forward Operating Base), several different celebrations occurred yesterday. Despite the immense walls that ring the FOB's outer perimeter, most of the units have internal compounds that are also surrounded by Jersey barriers and concertina wire for added security. As such, each unit is somewhat cut off from the other, hence the decision to hold multiple celebrations.
Sure enough, the 2nd Marine Division (MARDIV) held their own celebration within the larger Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) compound. The celebration was held outside during sunset, with great care taken to ensure the traditional pom and circumstance held back at home was included. A color guard was present, as was a small band put together for the occasion. A series of rough-hewn benches were hastily constructed for Marines and their guests to sit on and were filled to capacity.
The MARDIV even set up a large video screen to play the Commandant's video-taped 236th B-Day message - if you have a moment, please take a look - it's a great video and helps explain to those who've never been part of the Corps why we Marines are so proud of our service Commandant's Birthday Video.
During the ceremony, the 2nd MARDIV Commanding General (CG) was the guest of honor. Behind the General, an honor guard marched out and the flags were retired for the evening. Following the presentation of the Commandant's video message, a birthday cake measuring at least 6' long was carried out of the building and in placed in front of the gathered crowd. As tradition goes, the Guest of Honor received the first piece; the oldest Marine present received the second (he was 55), while the 3rd piece went to the youngest Marne present, born in Sept, 1992.