The 11th celebration in Ormond Beach was held at River Grille on Nov. 10, the U.S. Marine Corps' anniversary.
What started 11 years ago as a small handful of U.S. Marine Corps veterans who wanted to celebrate the USMC birthday has turned into a larger gathering worthy of a big “Oorah!”
On Friday, Nov. 10, about 40 veterans and significant others celebrated the 242nd birthday of the USMC. As per Marine tradition, the youngest veteran in the room, 54-year-old Sharon Sir, and the oldest, 92-year-old Bob Hildebrandt, made the first slice into the scarlet, gold and white cake with a sword.
Marine veteran Ken Schroeder served from 1957 to 1959 while stationed at Parris Island. As the event organizer, he has encouraged local Marines to attend over the years to celebrate the USMC’s birthday.
“We love each other,” Schroeder said about his Marine brothers and sisters. “We have the spirit of the Corps, and we protect each other.”
The celebration has been housed at the River Grille, located at 950 N. US 1, all 11 years, as the general manager’s father and some of his brothers are Marine veterans.
“I’ve got brothers that are Marines, and a brother that I lost was a Marine,” Frank Perry said. “But basically, (hosting the ceremony) is the right thing to do.”
To honor Marines lost, Schroeder read off the names of local Marines who have died, followed by the playing of Taps on the bugle by Ormond Beach resident Rob Webber.
“I’m glad (Schroeder) does this and has maintained it over the course of the years,” Perry said. “It says a lot about the guy; his heart’s really in it.”