This evening, November 10, all over the country and beyond, Marines are celebrating their birthday. They weren’t born under a cabbage leaf, you know. They were born in a tavern. Tun Tavern.
And ever since, for 240 years, they’ve been Defending Freedom.
I had the pleasure of attending Choptank Marine Corps League Detachment’s Marine Corps Birthday Party at the VFW in Easton, MD tonight. The Detachment adopted Marine Moms-Bethesda back in 2009, supporting our mission at Bethesda, then Walter Reed after the two hospitals combined.
Over the years, our November luncheons have become a celebration of the Marine Corps’ Birthday and Veterans Day. I remember a few years ago, a Marine in a wheelchair came into the luncheon room and all he wanted was a piece of cake. He told us he hadn’t had a piece of birthday cake and was so glad we had one. Another year, Janet had brought a huge turkey and we had all the fixin’s for a good southern Thanksgiving meal. I was outside of the luncheon room next to the niftie-giftie table and a Marine in a wheelchair came out of the room with a heaping plate and a turkey leg laying right smack on top of everything, with a huge grin on his face. It’s the little things…
The ward was pretty quiet this luncheon.
The Team: Dina, Deb, and Jane, with help from Julie, and Ryan from the Inpatient Warrior Family Office.
The Menu: deviled eggs, turkey & gravy, sliced ham, cornbread dressing, green beans, chicken noodle soup, fresh fruit salad, assorted rolls, assorted drinks, fresh smoothies, pumpkin pie, and of course, USMC Birthday Cake!
The Niftie-Gifties: quilts, pillowcases (from Bayside Quilters), hand-knit slippers (from Carole and the Castaways) and scarves (from Dina), DVDs (from Dina’s friend), and snack bags (made up by our “Bag Lady”, Julie).
Every luncheon has at least one moment that stays with us. Dina sent me this after the luncheon:
“I’m still thinking of that sweet lady/mom that jumped right in and helped us and then checked in on us again as we were cleaning up. What a blessing she was! I wish I got to talk to her some more.”
She was so helpful! She checked back in with us while we were packing up, on her way to the Fisher House to see if we needed help. We gave her extra snack bags to give out to people she knew there.
Many thanks to our volunteers and supporters for your help making the luncheon a success. You are SO appreciated!
Happy 240th Birthday, Marines!
To our Veterans, thank you for serving!
Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.
A beautiful fall day for the 238th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps! It just so happened our November luncheon date landed on November 10th, the birthday of the greatest fighting force in the world!
It was also the day before Veterans Day. Such an honor to serve the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and their families a special luncheon on the combat ward at Walter Reed.
Katie, Julie, Dina, Deb and I planned to arrive a little before 10 AM. Deb drove, traffic was easy and she and I got there a little early.
As we rounded the corner after going though the gate we had to stop for the wildlife. No, Moms, not bored Marines… 😉 There were geese taking their good ol’ sweet time waddling across the road.
We unloaded and took everything upstairs with the help of the Gunnery Sergeant. It was nice meeting him and putting a face to the emails.
Deb went to park the truck while I began setting up the room. Katie, Julie and Dina weren’t far behind us.
Pickles, olives, cheese and crackers
Gravy and Dressing
Chicken Tortellini Soup & Potato Soup
Sweet Potato Casserole
Smoothies and Assorted Drinks
although we didn’t have a Birthday Cake, we had…
The nifty-gifties table was set up with pantry bags and other things. Julie does the shopping and packing for the bags, which have snacks and a few other things in them, just something to have in the hospital room so they don’t have to walk down the hall to the vending machine for a day or two… or three.
Also on the table were books on CDs, great for vision-impaired patients, from Bob and Linda, Carole and the Castaways’ hand-knitted slippers and beanies, quilts from both the Bayside Quilters and Olde Kent Quilt Guilds, and composition books from Katie.
Diana in Florida sent blank handmade Hanukkah and Christmas cards for the patients and families to have if they wanted them.
They were beautiful, as were the “all occasion” ones she sent earlier this year.
To everyone who help make the luncheons possible, your “Gifts From the Heart” mean so much to those we serve. Thank You!
The time came that makes all of the planning, shopping, and preparation worth it.
Moms, Dads, wives, and patients came in to fill a plate. Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania were just a few states represented. There were amputees in wheelchairs, Traumatic Brain Injury patients, other types of head injury patients…
One of the patients “signed” to us – he couldn’t speak because of his recent surgery so he spelled the words out with his hand, and his wife translated “Thank You!” for us.
Some of the people we served had been to past luncheons. More than once or twice… or thrice… and may still be there when we go back toward the end of January.
One will be moving on to a Polytrauma Unit at a VA Medical Center so he can be closer to home, and others will be back and forth between the surgical ward here at Walter Reed and Bldg. 62, the out-patient apartments, for many more months.
One Solider, very well-liked by the other patients, had started out at the old Walter Reed – three years ago… A few more surgeries and this part of his recovery will be completed, then the next steps of his rehab begins… with his Mom by his side ‘walking the walk” with him.
In spite of the life-altering injuries our troops and their families are living with in their “new normal”, their UPBEAT SPIRITS and “CAN DO” attitude are MORE than inspiring…They take their “Warrior Ethos” and they apply it to their new mission – Recovery.
Do not tell them “can not”.
They will prove you wrong.
Lessons many of us would do well to pay attention to when we’re having a bad day.
Happy Birthday, Marines!
And to our Veterans, Thank You for serving our country!
Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.
These are the oaths our military take when they place their “John Hancock” on the dotted line.
The Oath of Enlistment for the Armed Forces (except the Army and Air National Guard):
“I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
The Oath of Enlistment for Air and Army National Guard:
“I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of (STATE NAME) against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (STATE NAME) and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.”
They have pledged on their word of honor that they will defend our Constitution, and the oath does not end when their DoD contract is up. As a Marine said to me when I congratulated him on receiving his DD-214 and not having to worry any longer about being called back, he said, “Yeah, thanks, as long as there’s not a WW III.”