LANDSTUHL, Germany — When U.S. Marines host a birthday party, they don’t celebrate with silly confetti, plastic noisemakers or cardboard hats.
They show a video narrated by the distinctive coarse drawl of actor Sam Elliott, highlighting the Corps’ famous World War I battle at Belleau Wood, France.
They cut a cake with a sword.
They shout out guttural “Ooh-rahs.”
On Thursday, a handful of Marines from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Marine Liaison Team and Stuttgart’s U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe celebrated the Corps’ upcoming 232nd birthday with a ceremonial cake cutting. The Marine Corps traces its beginnings back to Nov. 10, 1775, when the Second Continental Congress resolved to raise two battalions of Continental Marines.
Wounded Marines receiving treatment at Landstuhl, including one who was in a wheelchair recovering from a roadside bomb blast, also attended the ceremony, which drew a standing-room-only crowd of soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians to the hospital’s auditorium.
“Having the ceremony at the hospital is our way of showing our wounded Marines here how much we appreciate what they do,” said Marine Sgt. Scott Bullard, who now is with Marine Force Europe but formerly worked as a Marine liaison at Landstuhl.
A massive cake decorated with the Corps’ eagle, globe and anchor was wheeled up to Marine Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson Jr., commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe. The cake was then sliced with a sword. Wilson received the first piece. As is Marine tradition, the second piece was sampled by the oldest Marine in attendance and then passed to the youngest Marine in attendance.