Every Nov. 10 is a holiday for Marines, even years after being discharged or retiring. It’s in my blood.
The birth of America’s elite fighting force is traditionally marked with a formal ball and a cake-cutting ceremony, and a whole lot of revelry. We’re Marines, we party hard.
The first ball was held in 1925 but it wasn’t until 1952 that then-Commandant, General Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., formalized the cake-cutting ceremony, which honors the youngest and oldest Marines in the room.
Depending on the crowd, the honorees could be an 18-year-old fresh out of boot camp and a tattooed 97-year-old World War II veteran, with the oldest passing a piece of cake to the youngest.
You are never an ex-Marine, but a resting Marine. The title doesn’t go away no matter how much weight you gain or how awful a shot you become. “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” as the saying goes.
The Corps was born in a bar – naturally – called Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. That’s where the first recruitment drive, in 1775, was held for the Continental Marines, with the bar manager as the recruiter. The original Tun Tavern burned down in 1781.
It’s always a very sentimental day for me. The Marines was always a life event for me that I felt very proud of and it still seems like just yesterday that I was graduating from boot camp and heading to SOI (School of Infantry). Happy birthday Devil Dogs.