Today’s Soldier Story Saturday is written by Andie. Andie is a wife to a Marine, a Hanson Fan, a 13.1 Runner who is training for 26.2, a blogger, a coffee addict, a daydreamer and a music lover. Click here to visit Andie’s blog. Here is Andie’s story about attending the 236th Marine Corps Ball.
You’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard about all the excitement surrounding this years Marine Corps Ball. I’m not sure what it was about this year from others, but Marines were getting gutsy asking celebrities via YouTube to be their dates. It all started with Sgt. Scott Moore asking Mila Kunis, which led to Cpl. Kelsey De Santis asking Mila Kunis’ Friends With Benefits co-star Justin Timberlake. Sgt. Ray Lewis decided he wanted to steal the show and asked none other than the one and only Betty White. Unfortunately, Betty White had a scheduling conflict but Linda Hamilton, who played Sarah Connor in the first two “Terminator” movies saved the day and asked Sgt. Lewis to be her date.
As a wife of a Marine, I have been to my fair share of Marine Corps Balls. Two weeks ago I had attended the 236th Marine Corps Ball with my husband of five years. Over the years, I have now attended 6 with him and every year it’s always the same; find the perfect dress, make my hair appointment, get my nails done, and of course go to said appointments the day of. It’s like prom for adults, only it’s not your parents paying for your dress and appointments. Nothing is more fun than that one time of year that you can get dolled up and hang on the arm of your Marine.
Though Marine Corps Balls tend to be the same year after year, this one had a different feeling than all the others as my husband’s unit had just gotten home from a seven month deployment in Afghanistan. We were celebrating the birth of the Marine Corps, but we were also keeping those lost in the deployment in our thoughts. One thing I love about the Marine Corps is that they pride themselves on tradition. Some things throughout the 236 years of the Corps have changed, but it’s core values and traditions have remained. The night always begins with a message from the Commandant and prayer, which leads into The National Anthem and Marine Corps Hymn and the cake cutting ceremony giving a piece of cake to the oldest and youngest Marine present, and continues with a guest speaker.
It’s not just the traditions and values that make the Marine Corps what it is, it’s also the brotherhood between the Marines themselves. The Marines eat together, train together, deploy together and when one of their brothers fall, they mourn together. Whether at home in the states or far away in a war zone the men all look out for each other and become a tight-nit family, that is stronger than anything I had seen before I met my husband. It’s not uncommon to hear of men pooling money together to help another Marine and their family. What it means to be a Marine may have been summed up best by Senator Paul H. Douglas, “Those of us who have had the privilege of serving in the Marine Corps value our experience as among the most precious of our lives. The fellowship of shared hardships and dangers in a worthy cause creates a close bond of comradeship. It is the basic reason for the cohesiveness of Marines and for the pride we have in our Corps and our loyalty to each other.”
Thanks to the publicity of celebrities attending the ball this year, many will gain insight into the illustrious heritage that Marines young and old hold dear. While the practice of asking celebrities to the ball isn’t tradition, the Marine Corps will continue to honor all of its Marines and their achievements just as they have throughout its 236 year history. Just as they have since 1775, Marines past and present, young and old will keep traditions of the Corps alive and honor the memory of those that have gone before.
Happy 236th Birthday Marine Corps, here’s to another 236 years.
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