CAMP RAMADI, Iraq (Nov. 11, 2008) --
Founded in a small Philadelphia tavern on Nov. 10, 1775, by order of the Second Continental Congress, the Marine Corps’ history books were opened, and today, in Ramadi, Iraq, 2008, the pages are still being written.
Marines of 2nd Bn., 9th Marines celebrated the Marine Corps’ 233rd birthday with a cake-cutting ceremony aboard Camp Ramadi, Nov. 11.
“In three years, five years, 10 years, 20 years, Marines are going to be standing on battlefields we haven’t even begun to imagine yet and they’re going to pause on Nov. 10th and think back to the legacy you have created here,” said Lt. Col. Thad R. Trapp, the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, speaking to Marines of Company F and Headquarters and Support Company. “You guys, right now, are laying out history for future generations. You are fulfilling the legacy of the heroes that have fallen before us. You’re making your own page in history.”
Iraqi Police from Ramadi also attended the ceremony, and the guest of honor was Mayor Latif Obaid Iyada al Chulaybawi, the mayor of Ramadi.
The ceremony opened with a video message by Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Sgt. Major Carlton W. Kent presenting the traditional birthday message and was followed by the reading of General John A. Lejeune’s historic birthday message.
“When our chapter of history is written, it will be a saga of a selfless generation of Marines who were willing to stand up and fight for our Nation; to defend those who could not defend themselves; to thrive on the hardship and sacrifice expected of an elite warrior class; to march to the sound of the guns; and to ably shoulder the legacy of those Marines who have gone before,” Conway said in the taped message.
Mayor Latif, shared with everyone in attendance a few words of what it meant to him to be the guest of honor at the ceremony.
“We all came here today to congratulate the Marines on their 233rd birthday and wish them a happy birthday,” he said. “I am honored to be the guest of honor at this ceremony.”
Traditionally, the guest of honor, the oldest Marine present and the youngest Marine present receive the first pieces of the birthday cake. The first piece is given to the guest of honor and the second piece is passed from the oldest Marine present to the youngest.
The oldest Marine at the ceremony was Sgt. Maj. Jose Santiago, the battalion sergeant major, and the youngest Marine was Pfc. Travis Taylor, an 18-year-old rifleman with Company G, 2nd Bn., 9th Marines.