MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The Marine Corps has held strong to its traditions for 245 years. On the Marine Corps birthday, Marines across the globe typically celebrate each year with a traditional cutting of the cake and throwing a birthday ball.
Unfortunately this year, many units throughout the Marine Corps cancelled their annual ball due to COVID-19 restrictions, however they still celebrated by holding smaller traditional cake cutting ceremonies.
U.S. Marines, Sailors and distinguished guests of Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, celebrated the 245th birthday of the Marine Corps at Goettge Memorial Field House while still adhering to COVID-19 mitigation protocols on Nov. 10, 2020.
According to Maj. Gen. Julian D. Alford, commanding general, MCIEAST-MCB Camp Lejeune, it is important to honor the traditions started 245 years ago even through the current pandemic.
The celebration included a traditional cake cutting ceremony and the recitation of the birthday message from Gen. John A. Lejeune, 13th Commandant of the Marine followed by the recognition of the oldest and youngest Marines present.
Each part of the ceremony represents something different. The cake cutting itself represents the renewal of every Marine’s commitment to the Marine Corps, as well as the Corps’ commitment to the United States and freedom worldwide. The passing of the cake from the oldest to youngest Marine present represents the passing of experience and knowledge of the old Corps to the new Corps, so that they may carry the torch. This year, the oldest Marine present was 55-year-old Col. Ly Fecteau, command inspector general of the base who enlisted in the Marine Corps on Sept. 2, 1987. The youngest Marine present was 19-year-old LCpl Roberto Figueroa, Jr. a base administrative specialist who enlisted on June 16, 2019.
“This may be a different kind of ceremony because of COVID-19, but this is still very special and important,” Alford said. “No matter where Marines are, whether they are in a fighting hole, or at an embassy, they should pause and celebrate the birthday.”
The guest of honor Michael Lazzara, Jacksonville Mayor pro tempore, said “It is truly an honor and privilege to stand before you as the guest of honor on this celebration of 245 years of distinguished Marine Corps service. My compliments to the Marine Corps leadership for adjusting to the ever changing times and still finding a way to celebrate our deep traditions.”