MANCHESTER — Each year around Nov. 10, regardless of their location, Marines pause to observe the Marine Corps birthday, often sharing a meal followed by birthday cake with their fellow warriors.
Marines from all over the Granite State will gather at The Executive Court Banquet Facility, 1199 South Mammoth Road, on Nov. 11 for a celebration of the 244th Marine Corps birthday, hosted by the Manchester Expeditionary Brigade, a group of local volunteers.
The event is open to all Marines and their family and friends, beginning with a social hour at 11 a.m. and concluding with a Marine Corps memorabilia raffle at 2 p.m.
The guest speaker for this year’s event is Joseph McQuaid, Publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader. After a 50-year career in the newspaper business, McQuaid was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame in February. McQuaid has worked over his career to ensure the paper’s independence and to improve his community, including helping to raise more than $8 million for the Salvation Army Santa Fund, and being one of the last U.S. newspapers to feature a regular veterans page.
Marine Corps birthday tradition dictates that the first piece of cake is presented to the guest of honor. Then, according to tradition, the second piece of cake is served to the oldest Marine at the ceremony. This Marine then passes that slice of cake to the youngest Marine in attendance, symbolizing the passing of traditions from one generation of Marines to the next. The cake is cut with the traditional Mameluke sword and “The Marines Hymn” is played.
Additional ceremonies include remembering our fallen Marines with an empty table setting in a place of honor, symbolizing those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Taps is played.
Each year, speakers also read the original birthday message delivered in 1921 by then-Commandant Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune, and a video from the present-day Commandant is played.
Reservations are required. Tickets are $35 per person if purchased prior to Oct. 26. Tickets will be sold on a space-available basis for $40 per person if purchased after Oct. 26. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Marissa Lavery at 603-296-0030 or ManchExpBrigade@gmail.com.
Guests are invited to donate a new, unwrapped toy for the Marine Toys for Tots campaign, which will distribute the toys to local children in need during the upcoming holidays.