Marine Corps News | by Staff Sgt. Brian Kester
The time for
celebration and pageantry is once again at hand with the Marine Corps
birthday set to take place November 10th.
What does the
celebration mean to Marines across the globe? To Gen. John A. Lejeune, obviously,
it meant a great deal. On Nov. 1, 1921, he issued Marine Corps Order No. 47,
Series 1921, which provided a summary of the history, mission and traditions of the Corps. The illustrious
Lejeune directed that the order be read to every command each subsequent year
on November 10 in honor of the founding of the United States Marine Corps.
It will certainly be
read in locations across the United States, Afghanistan
and across the globe wherever Marines might be found. It might be a silent
observation in a austere location, or perhaps a more ceremonial reading.
Either way it was
formalized in 1952, by Commandant Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., who directed the
celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday be formalized throughout the Corps.
The details were included in the Marine Corps Drill Manual approved in 1956 and
helped bring together the inclusion of a cake ceremony and other traditions
still held every year at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball.
One key piece is the
passing of the first piece of cake from senior to junior Marines; it is a
symbolic gesture of the passing of experience and knowledge. That tradition
begins in recruit training and at Officer Candidates School, where knowing
where one comes from, knowing our past and living up to that example set is
emblazoned in the minds of those in training.
Do we consider that?
Do Marines take the time to think of that example set before us? When Marines
see a veteran, do they think to themselves, "how will the Corps carry on
after I am gone?"
To some this might
seem trivial, it might be an afterthought. Not to the Marines in Afghanistan,
or the 589 Quantico Marines who volunteered to perform community service
in 2011, or even the Marines who will find themselves supporting the Marine
Corps Marathon this weekend-their mark on history shall not be tarnished.
Nothing Marine Corps
was an afterthought to Roland Brooks, an Iwo Jima veteran and Texas Marine
Corps League representative who was present at a Texas Rangers baseball game in
Arlington, Texas, July 3, 2009. Although Brooks had trouble standing for long
periods and had difficulty walking due to bad knees, he insisted on standing
while poolees took their oath of enlistment in front of the Texas crowd.
The temperature on
the field was more than 100 degrees, but Brooks said he was going to be a part
of the ceremony no matter what the cost. He wanted to be that symbolic
representation of the Corps. He wanted to, even if it meant he might die.
To that end we
should emulate that example, and take part in history. Enjoy the fruits of your
labor and revel in the spectacle and unabashed camaraderie that can be found at
the Marine Corps ball.
For more about the Marine Corps, see >> www.bigbearlake.net/The
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Marine Corps Birthday