Last night, Leora and I went to our first Marine Corps Ball. We've been to a few Chaplain Corps balls, and I went to the Dental Corps Ball once. But there is nothing quite as motivating as being in a room of 600 super-motivated (alcohol is possibly involved) Marines, in their dress uniforms.
We walk in the door, and people start wishing us "Happy Birthday!" There is pomp and circumstance. The colors (flags) are marched into the rooms. Sword salutes. A proclamation by the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps. A cake is marched in. The oldest Marine and the youngest Marine eat from it (very "l'dor vador").
Pictures are below, but I want to share with you the invocation I delivered as the Battalion Chaplain (the Marines clapped and cheered, at the end).
Two hundred thirty-seven years ago tonight, they gathered in Tun Tavern; and we were there.
They broke down the gates of Mexico city - into the Halls of Montezuma; and we were there.
They outlasted and won the day at Guadalcanal; and we were there.
They raised the flag at Iwo Jima; and we were there.
They overcame incredible odds at Saipan, Peleilu, Guam, Tarawa, and Okinawa; and we were there.
In the rivers and deltas of Vietnam; and we were there.
In the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistam; and we were there.
We were there.
We are there.
Almighty God, we invoke your presence here with us.
Eternal God, who connects the generations one to another, bless the Marines of the 9th Engineer Support Battalion; together with their brothers and sisters - the Marines and Officers who make up the United States Marine Corps.
As we strive to serve our great country with HONOR, COURAGE, and COMMITMENT, we ask that you lift us up on EAGLE's wings; Protect us as we serve around the GLOBE; and be our ANCHOR when we begin to drift.
Adonai Ish Milchama - our ever vigilant protector -
Bless the CO, the officers and leaders of this battalion with your wisdom.
Support those who support all - the equipment operators and maintainers, the water dogs and the gen-techs.
Drive our bulk fuelers to greatness.
Motivate our combat engineers to further excellence.
Protect our EOD Marines, even as they continue their deployments into harm's way.
Lord who creates and destroys.
Be with the Marines of 9th ESB, as we build it, bridge it, or blow it up!
TODAY, WE CELEBRATE THE 237TH BRITHDAY OF THE WORLDS MOST ELITE FIGHTING FORCE, WE PRAY THAT WE MAY CONTINUE TO EMBODY THE NOBLE SPIRIT OF THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS – SEMPER FIDELIS – ALWAYS FAITHFUL.
And together, we say Amen.
|Like those killer stripes at the bottom of my sleeve? That's because on top of everything else, I got promoted this week. On a side note, Leora looks awesome.|
|Ladies, meet RP3 Worth. |
Me and My Religious Program Specialist (Petty Officer 3d Class) - the guy who shoots for me and protects me.
|March on the colors!|
|This is the Marine pageantry that I'm talking about.|
|March on the cake!|
|Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, dear Marine Corps. Happy Birthday to you! |
(and yes, there was one drunk platoon-sized singing of "Happy Birthday")
|Formation around the cake!|
(oldest and youngest Marines take their place for the tasting)
|Adjutant reading the order to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday|