FALLBROOK – Three South Bay San Diego Marine Corps League Detachments gathered together for a Marine Corps Ball at the Elks Club in Chula Vista on the 10th of November to celebrate the 237th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
Hosted by the “Scuttlebutt Detachment,” invitations went out to the “Bulldog Detachment” and the “Col. Mitchell Paige Detachment” who were well represented and warmly received by their hosts.
During the ceremony, the master of ceremonies proclaimed “Ladies and gentlemen the oldest Marine present here on this occasion is Andrew Philip Genninger of Fallbrook, Calif. who was born in Queens Village, NY on the 23rd day of April in 1929.”
Traditionally, regardless of location, Marines pause to observe the Corp’s birthday by sharing a cake and usually, a holiday meal. The Marine Corp’s birthday cake-cutting ceremony is important to all Marines, as it is an annual renewal of each Marine’s commitment to the Corps; and the Corps’ commitment to this nation’s quest for peace and freedom worldwide.
The birthday cake is traditionally cut with the Mameluke sword, as a reminder that Marines are a band of warriors, and the Marine Corps is the only U.S. Military Service committed to carrying the sword.
Symbolically, the eldest Marine present passes a piece of cake to the youngest Marine present, just as for years experienced Marines have nurtured and led young Marines that will fill their ranks and renew the Corps. .
A simple ceremony, but many Marines will get something in their eye when this takes place…and a feeling in their chest that is difficult to describe or to explain.
This ceremony takes place in combat zones, on ships and bases all around the world, thereby revealing unity of all Marines who attend.
Marines are one; brothers and sisters who happen to wear a uniform, or who happen to have worn a uniform with a symbol, a symbol of fear and of hope to others, a symbol of strength and fighting spirit, a symbol of unity among brethren, a symbol of patriotism, of freedom and a symbol that if they never give up, never say quit, that all before them can be overcome, a symbol of liberty.
That symbol is the Eagle, Globe and Anchor that Marines earn the hard way. A symbol that has no meaning without the hearts and souls of those behind it who gave it to all their fellow Marines many, many decades ago, and who dared newly trained Marines to pick it up and take up the challenge they offered. to Keep America free.
After the cake-cutting ceremony, at the Elks Club, more than 250 Marines present gathered on the Club dance floor and, following their all singing the Marine’s Hymn, raised their tumblers of tequila in toast and a quick swallow of the burning liquid.
Genninger a three war veteran, is a member of Fallbrook’s VFW Post 1924, where he is the Liaison to the Camp Pendleton based Wounded Warrior Battalion-West. He is also the founder and first Commandant of the Marine Corps League’s “Colonel Mitchell Paige [Medal of Honor] Detachment #1207.”