I was asked if I will get the first piece of cake this year and the answer is no. Though I’m sure young Marines view America’s SgtMaj as a crusty old salt, there are many hardcore Marine vets here in northern Ohio attending the ball. If I were to reach for the first piece of cake I imagine my wrist would be violently struck with a cane as some old war horse bellowed: “Stand aside boot!”
Besides, among active duty Marines it is unofficially considered bad form to seek to be the oldest Marine present. If you are the oldest you generally try to hide the fact. We are a pretty unforgiving lot and will take advantage of any opportunity. As an experienced narrator of Marine Corps birthday cake cutting ceremonies, I can attest to having perhaps inflated the ages of the oldest Marine present a time or two. There’s nothing as thrilling as having a retired, leathery, ol’ SgtMaj give you the hairy eyeball during the cake cutting as you suggest he may have attended boot camp in WWI.
All in all, the Marine Corps birthday is an opportunity to break bread with comrades, family, and friends of the Corps. We reminisce about the days of auld lang syne and hoist a pint in memory of cherished brethren. We few, we happy few…
A very happy birthday to the warriors of the realm! You are America’s finest. May God bless America, and success to the Marines!