Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 236th Birthday

Yesterday was the 236th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps. The Corps is rich in history and tradition and all Marines begin learning our traditions the day they enter boot camp or Officer Candidate School. Ask any Marine who Chesty Puller is or why we wear a blood stripe on the side of our dress trousers and they'll know. There's not a Marine alive, past or present, who can't recite the Marine Corps hymn word for word.  

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. 

It was a nice ceremony. Having attended many variations of Marine Corps birthday celebrations, from simple cake cutting at a friend's home to the Commandant's Ball in Washington, D.C., the 2nd MARDIV celebration was more than acceptable. The CG reminded everyone, whether they were a Marine who'd just returned from patrol or a clerk working administrative issues aboard the Camp that they were all part of the continuing  legacy of the Corps. He reminded us thank our families for their sacrifice, as they are the ones left behind, taking care of things at home. I thoroughly enjoyed the event, which renewed my faith in the Corps and the bond I feel toward my fellow Marines, past and present.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Semper Fi!

Good luck and Godspeed.

Wayne

des montres said...

This year she will be 237 years old. Hope she is always here with us.

orologi vendita said...

Haha,congratulations! There long lives the upcoming birthday next year!

orologi di lusso said...

Pretty exciting! Rarely seen such an old age human being~

Collezione borse Louis Vuitton said...

Long history and the army will continue its glorious history.