What used to be one of the most celebrated dates in my life passed with little fanfare this weekend. The traditional birthday of the Marine Corps was Saturday. We Marines, and our friends, noted the 232nd anniversary of the Continental Congress' 10 November 1775 Resolution that "...2 battalions of Marines be raised..." Since I was 18 (in the fall of 1974) and in the early stages of my preparation to be an officer of Marines, I have celebrated the Marine Corps' Birthday. Often it was with great pageantry and prideful peacockery partying amidst fellow Marines. Occasionally it was with quiet reflection and rumination, alone. This weekend was one of the latter.
I did receive some congratulatory missives from family and friends. My daughter-in-law further cemented her exalted position (achieved through the provision of one and 8/9 grandsons) by calling to wish me "Happy Birthday!" An old high school buddy, now a Chaplain with the 3rd Infantry Division, sent an e-mail with birthday felicitations from "your big brother, the US Army." Even a flight attendant on a trip last week stopped, when he noticed my eagle, globe, and anchor lapel pin, to comment, "you've got a birthday coming up this weekend don't you?"
But the weekend was spent in a much quieter fashion than Marine Corps Birthday weekends of old. It was probably the first one in 33 years that I didn't participate in a ritual cake cutting of some sort. Shame on me, I guess.
Fear not, fellow leathernecks, faithful friends, and long-suffering family members, the eagle, globe and anchor tattooed on my heart lacks none of the vivid sharpness of its inking. I am still a Marine, after all.