Friday, November 10, 2006

Corps Celebrations

One of the things I'm beginning to miss more and more since leaving active duty is the pageantry and celebration surrounding the birthday of the Marine Corps. After the first few years of it early in my career, I have to admit that the novelty of all the ceremony began to wear off. But, this is the 4th 10th of November in which I haven't participated in a Marine Corps birthday celebration of any kind, and I kinda miss it.

One of my favorite Marine Corps Birthday memories is from the time I served with the Air Force as an instructor at the Air Command and Staff College. We Marines made up barely a percentage point of the total students and faculty, but made an indelible scarlet and gold mark in a sea of blue around the first couple of weeks of November. We hosted a Marine Corps Birthday Ball at the Officers' Club and could have made a killing had we been more capitalistic--the Marine Corps Ball is recognized as THE social event of the year at Maxwell Air Force Base and an invitation and tickets were prized commodities. One year I served as the ceremonial adjutant for the Ball and took great pleasure in flashing sword work in the close quarters of the crowded ball room--I got comments about it the rest of the year. Actually, I got critiques from my Marine buddies, who pointed out the subtle mistakes in my close order drill and sword manual. But the zoomies didn't see the mistakes--just the business end of my sword flashing perilously close to the tips of bue-suiter noses.

A ceremonial cutting of the Birthday cake with the adjutant's sword, and delivery of the first pieces of cake to the oldest and youngest Marines present, is a traditional and time-honored component of every Marine Corps birthday celebration. Since it's just me here today, I'll have to settle for the first piece of coffee cake.

I'm just short enough to make sword manual work with a butter knife.

Happy Birthday, Marines! Semper Fidelis!
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