Marines mark Corps' 229th birthday
November 12, 2004
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Marines gathered on the parade field here Wednesday to celebrate the Corps’ 229th birthday with the annual uniform pageant and cake-cutting ceremony.
The event began with the presentation of the colors, followed by both the American and Japanese national anthems and an invocation.
The crowd then stepped back in time as one by one, Marines dressed in period uniforms appeared. As each demonstrator came to a stop in front of the reviewing stand, a brief history of each uniform’s era was read. At the end of the parade of uniforms, six Marines rushed onto the field and planted the U.S. flag, recreating the famous Iwo Jima flag raising.
Next, 13th Commandant Gen. John A. Lejeune’s birthday message was read, followed by a message from current Commandant Gen. Michael W. Hagee.
The commanding general of Camp Butler, Brig. Gen. James Flock, then addressed the audience.
“As we celebrate the 229th birthday of our Corps, we are proud of all our Marines that are forward deployed in many parts of the world, maintaining peace and stability,” Flock said. “We are grateful for their service, we are thankful for their sacrifices and we acknowledge their special role. We are especially proud of our Marines and sailors who are currently deployed on the battlefields of the global war on terrorism, for they have made the world aware of our unwavering aspirations to preserve the freedom we hold so dear.
“As Marines, we are all here today because we stepped forward to serve our great nation. Your country thanks you for the significant contributions that you make each and every day, along with the contributions that your families also make.
“History has shown that Marines are a disciplined, determined, loyal, courageous band of brothers and sisters in a common cause, capable of preserving our country’s honor and protecting her freedoms,” Flock continued. “You not only protect our people, you also keep our way of life secure. As long as there is the need to defend America’s freedoms around the world, there will be a need for U.S. Marines.”
Flock later said that many years from now, the Marines in attendance would “be amazed to realize that you have become the Marine Corps senior leadership, committed to maintaining those traditions passed down from generation to generation of Marines. These traditions, along with our tenacity in combat, is what keeps the Marine Corps uniquely capable, uniquely respected and uniquely viewed as history’s most feared fighting force.”
Following his speech, Flock conducted the ceremonial cutting of the cake, presenting a piece to the oldest and youngest Marines present, as well as a piece to the oldest retired Marine present, who is an employee on Camp Butler.
Master Sgt. Barbara A. Pace from Headquarters and Service Battalion’s Alpha Company was the oldest Marine honored. She was born on Jan. 6, 1951. The youngest Marine was Pfc. Lane Owen Humphress, an armorer with Headquarters and Service Battalion, who was born on Sept. 25, 1986. Retired Lt. Col. Bill Hapgood was the oldest retired Marine, with a birthday of Jan. 23, 1934.
After the cake cutting, the colors were retired and the period uniform Marines stayed on the field to pose for pictures.