NEW YORK –Council on Foreign Relations fellows and U.S. Marines took time to observe the 239th United States Marine Corps birthday together at CFR’s New York Office, Nov. 7, 2014.
“Tradition and ceremony are important to whom we are and that’s how we instill our timeless virtues from one generation to the next,” said Col. Stephen Liszewski, the Marine Corps military fellows to the Council on Foreign Relations. “Doing it here was important because there are a lot of civilians here and they never get to see anything like this so they get to be exposed to it and kind of understand what goes on in the Marine Corps.”
The Council of Foreign Relations is a think tank based in New York City that focuses on foreign policy and national security issues.
“Today, we’re observing a tradition that the Marines celebrate every year regardless of where they are in any fox hole or garrison setting, in any clime or place,” said Gui Wyser-Pratte, the oldest Marine present who served in the Marine Corps from 1962-1966.
The event began with a few words from author, Max Boot, who was the guest speaker for the event
“I think one of the great strengths of the Marine Corps is its sense of history and this is a great way to bring this sense of history home,” said Boot. “Not only for all the Marines, but for the civilians as well to remind them where the Marines have been. This is one of the strongest building blocks you can have of this type of esprit de corps that makes Marines what they are”
Following Boot, Liszewski read the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. John A. Lejeune’s Birthday Message, a message that addresses the history and heritage of Marines. This was followed by a cake cutting ceremony with a traditional offering of cake to the youngest and oldest Marines present.
“This was pretty much a summarization of what Marine Corps birthday balls are like,” said Sgt. Malik King, a Hempstead, N.Y. native and 1st Marine Corps District color sergeant. “A traditional cutting of the cake passed down from the oldest Marine present to the youngest Marine present, symbolizing the passing down of history and experience from one generation to the next.”
Marines are always out there and we’re working hard and its good for Marines to take a second and reflect on ourselves as Marines and why we chose to join the greatest fighting force in the world,” said King.