U.S. Marine Corps 241st Birthday Celebrated at American Legion
The Entertainment Committee of American Legion Post 111 in Dallas held a birthday celebration for the United States Marine Corps on Saturday, November 12, 2016. Legion family, service members, veterans of all military branches and their guests were invited to attend the ceremony.
Festivities began at 6:00 PM with a social hour featuring hors d’oeuvres donated by the American Legion Family consisting of members of the American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Riders. Formal photographs of the attendees, many who wore their service uniforms, were taken by U.S. Air Force Veteran, Larry Sutton, of Lens Itself Photography. Mr. Sutton not only donated his time, but his professional photographs as well.
At 7:00 PM, the program began with U.S. Marine Veterans, in dress blue uniforms, escorting Mr. James “Jim” Stockton to the head table. Mr. Stockton, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and Iwo Jima survivor, wore the traditional green Alpha uniform of his day. Another notable attendee at the ceremony, was Mr. James “Jim” Fagas, a five-time Purple Heart recipient and Vietnam era Marine. Mr. James Foy, a U.S. Marine combat veteran, served as the event host for the evening.
The 2016 birthday video message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert B. Neller was played for the attendees. The theme of the 241st birthday message was “Reunion,” and the special bond that Marines and Marine Veterans have that transcends generations.
Mr. Bill Fleisch, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve veteran, then recited the Marine Corps prayer. A moment of silence was held for POW/MIA’s and then the Pledge of Allegiance was recited in unison followed by the playing of the National Anthem.
The Marine Corps themed, strawberry filled, birthday cake, made by Mr. Henry and Mrs. Deborah Woodall, was escorted into the room on a cart draped in red fabric, similar to the color of the Marine Corps flag. The traditional cake cutting ceremony was conducted with the oldest Marine in attendance, Mr. Jim Stockton and the youngest Marine, Mr. Robert Dean, cutting the cake with a Marine Corps sword.
The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Jerry Rochelle, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. Dr. Rochelle’s comments covered some Marine Corps history, including the Marine Corps Hymn. He noted how Marines are different from other branches of service and provided a handout detailing the uniqueness of the Marine Corps.
Before the ceremony concluded, the birthday message from General John A. Lejeune was read by Mr. James Foy. This message has been read at Marine Corps birthday celebrations since November 1, 1921.
The Entertainment Committee plans to celebrate the 242nd Marine Corps birthday next November, at which time event details will be published.