Thursday, November 8, 2007

Semper Fi!

As a contributor to Land Line, I also have a regular day job as an editor and writer at a publishing company. For the past 18 months or so, a large part of my duties there have involved editing Semper Fi, a bimonthly magazine for the 70,000 members of the Marine Corps League. You can find here.

I’m betting that some of you are Marines (there being no such thing as a former Marine), and you’ll be celebrating someplace, too.

In that capacity, several of my colleagues and I are going to Washington this weekend to participate in celebrating the Corps’ 232 Birthday. The weekend officially starts with a ceremony at the Marine Corps War Memorial, often called the Iwo Jima Memorial, click here or here. There, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and its two major marching bands, The President’s Own and The Commandant’s Own, as well as the world-famous Silent Drill Team, will perform for assembled Marines and friends.

That night, as has been tradition for much of the last 100 years, Marine units, bases and veterans around the world will have a party – known as a Birthday Ball. At some point in the festivities, the cooks will wheel out a big cake that will be cut with a Marine saber. The first two pieces go to the oldest and youngest Marines present – another tradition.

On Sunday, Veterans’ Day, the League will take its turn as the official hosting veterans organization at the national Veterans’ Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery (you can see what last year’s observance looked like here).

The League members will be readily identifiable because of the scarlet jackets they wear. I’m not a Marine, so I will be in a suit and sunglasses, looking a lot like a Secret Service agent.

Seriously, I am very humble to be afforded the opportunity to participate in this. Some years ago, I participated in the Memorial Day event known as Rolling Thunder, remembering MIAs and KIAs and, as part of that, laid a wreath at the Vietnam War Memorial on behalf of truckers who served in that conflict.

When I return, I’ll post an account as well as some photos and maybe a link to some video. To all you Marines out there, Happy Birthday and Semper Fideles!