Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Marine Corps Birthday Ball

Happy 235th Birthday United States Marine Corps!

We were invited to attend the Marine Corps Ball by Jim and Beth Antal.  Jim served  for over 20 years in many locations around the world.  We were honored to be asked to celebrate with them and privileged to attend.  However, the morning of the ball, Beth’s mother passed away, and they headed to Tennessee.  They encouraged us to attend without them in her mom’s honor and we were thrilled that we decided to go on alone.

The Marine Corps Ball is a tradition celebrating the November 10th birthday of the Corps.  The first "formal" Birthday Ball took place in Philadelphia in 1925.  Since that time, the ball has grown and includes ceremony and other traditional observances. 
We began the evening with a reception and formal pictures, then entered the banquet hall in time for the Call to Order, which began the ceremonies.  The deep sound of the bagpipes reverberated throughout the room as the piper and drummers marched in.  The colors were presented and a video shown with greetings from the Commandant.  Every year, the Marine Corps Orders are solemnly read as a birthday message to the Corps. 
MARINE CORPS ORDERS 
No. 47 (Series 1921) 
HEADQUARTERS U.S. MARINE  CORPS
Washington, November 1, 1921

759. The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10 November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.

(1) On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine". In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

(2) The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home,generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

(3) In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

(4) This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.
JOHN A. LEJEUNE,
Major General Commandant
75705—21

The guest of honor, Brigadier General James Lariviere, gave the address and honored many of the men who served.  The traditional cake was cut and as Marine Corps policy mandates, the first piece was given to the oldest Marine present.  The second piece is traditionally given to the youngest marine.  The oldest marine at the ball was born in 1914 and served in WWII; the youngest was a female born in 1988.   
  
There were so many men in uniform and it made us proud of their service to our country.  It was emotional to hear the Marine Corp Hymn remembering Charles’ dad who served as a Marine, which was an important part of his life.  There were many empty chairs due to the local reserve unit leaving for Afghanistan earlier this week, showing the reality of the work Marines do.   There was also an empty table draped in black with one chair signifying and honoring all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  

After dinner, a live band provided entertainment for the evening.  We had a wonderful time and it was so nice to be included in the birthday celebration.  We certainly missed Jim and Beth (thank you for inviting us), and it was a great honor to be able to participate! 

Semper Fi Marines!  We are proud of you!

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