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Archive for Saturday, November 11, 2006

Marine Corps celebrates 231 years of proud service

November 11, 2006

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Marine Gunnery Sgt. Eric Sheppard's opinion of Lawrence changed Friday.

Sheppard, a 13-year Marine veteran, was impressed to see more than 200 people - nearly all Marines - show up at Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics to celebrate the Marine Corps' 231st birthday.

"To see the support we have here today changed my view a lot of about Lawrence, to be quite honest with you," said Sheppard, 32, of LaGrange, Ga. "I have said I felt more at home in the streets of Iraq than I did in the streets of Lawrence."

Sheppard, who became assistant Marine officer instructor in Kansas University's Navy ROTC program six months ago, said he thought that area residents "weren't really excited about what it is we're here to do."

There were no anti-Marine glares at this party, however. A large birthday cake was cut with a sword and the first piece was served to Charles Laskowski, a 90-year-old Lawrence man who joined the Marines in 1937 and served in World War II and the Korean War.

The second piece went to Lance Cpl. Jordan Alley, 20, who was the most recent Marine recruit in attendance, having joined in July 2005.

"This is very cool - very cool," said Alley, of Overland Park. "It's fun to talk to some of these old guys and just hear some of the things they've done."

KU ROTC Marine Officer Instructor Major Jeff Daniels, from left, and ROTC Cadet Jordan Alley cut a cake with a sword as Charles Laskowski Sr. and his son, Charles Laskowski Jr., look on from right. At 90 years old, Laskowski Sr. was the oldest Marine in attendance, and Alley, 20, was the youngest. Both were recognized at a birthday party for the Marine Corps on Friday at the Dole Institute of Politics.

KU ROTC Marine Officer Instructor Major Jeff Daniels, from left, and ROTC Cadet Jordan Alley cut a cake with a sword as Charles Laskowski Sr. and his son, Charles Laskowski Jr., look on from right. At 90 years old, Laskowski Sr. was the oldest Marine in attendance, and Alley, 20, was the youngest. Both were recognized at a birthday party for the Marine Corps on Friday at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Laskowski has been to several of the Lawrence Marine birthday parties over the years. He said he felt confident in the state of the Corps after seeing the attitude of the young Marines serving during today's time of war.

"That's the way I was 69 years ago," he said.

David Ballentine said he also liked to "look in the eyes of the new guys" and know that the Corps is in good hands.

"It makes us feel good about what the tomorrow for our institution is going to look like," the 66-year-old Overland Park Vietnam veteran said. "It's an institution and it's going to be associated with the best that this nation has to offer."

The Marines celebrate their Corps' birthday the day before Veterans Day. Current and retired Marines said they came to the celebration to reflect and enjoy the camaraderie they share with one another.

"We come here to be with each other and remember our brothers who can't be here today," said Vietnam veteran John Musgrave, 58, of Baldwin.

Curt Bennett didn't think the Vietnam War was necessary nor did he agree with invading Iraq. But Bennett still flew Marine jet bombers in Vietnam and he still celebrates the Marine birthday.

"It's a part of you," the 64-year-old Lawrence man said of being a Marine. "We're coming back to be reminded of what we once were."

The gathering of Marines sang the Marine's Hymn along with a Lawrence High School choir. They heard a video message from retiring Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Haage, who said "rededicate yourselves to our bedrock of honor, courage and commitment."

Capt. Tom Arnold, commander of KU's Navy ROTC, also said Marines should remember their heritage and the ideals of their service.

Chief Warrant Officer Donn Dunkle, who has served nearly 25 years in the Marines, said he has celebrated the Corps' birthday in places like Okinawa, Iraq and Korea.

"It's a time-honored tradition," Dunkle, 42, of Lawrence, said. "No matter where we are at, some how, some way, we stop and honor the Marine Corps' birthday."

Retired Lt. Col. Erv Hodges, former Lawrence mayor, said there had been an increase in attendance during the past few years.

"We seem to get more and more each year," he said.

Comments

Marion Lynn 7 years, 5 months ago

Posted by Marion (Marion Lynn) on November 9, 2006 at 8:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Marines Song

From the Halls of Montezuma To the shores of Tripoli We fight our country's battles On the land as on the sea.

First to fight for right and freedom And to keep our honor clean; We are proud to claim the title Of United States Marines.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze From dawn to setting sun; We have fought in every clime and place Where we could take a gun.

In the snow of far-off Northern lands And in sunny tropic scenes; You will find us always on the job -- The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps Which we are proud to serve; In many a strife we've fought for life And never lost our nerve.

If the Army and the Navy Ever look on Heaven's scenes, They will find the streets are guarded By United States Marines.

Marion writes:

When in doubt; SEND THE MARINES!

The debt owed to the Marines and their families can only be acknowledged; the debt can never be repaid.

In the line of duty, Marines have been captured, wounded and killed.

In the line of duty, no Marine has ever been defeated.

Thank you for your service.

Marion.

Posted by bearded_gnome (anonymous) on November 9, 2006 at 9:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

well said, Lepanto.

thank you so much, to each in uniform and who has bravely worn the uniform. you serve, we well know this. you protect, we well perceive this. you lead, we certainly know this. you take risks beyond our comprehension, we understand this. and, we are grateful.

Posted by jonas (anonymous) on November 9, 2006 at 10:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And in celebration, for the next thirty-six hours, to honor their heritage, all marines in the field will be equipped with muskets. Terrorists tremble in fear!!!!!!

Post a comment

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 5 months ago

Well, the comments were on an earlier version of this sotry, reprinted below:

Posted by Rationalanimal (anonymous) on November 9, 2006 at 8:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You're the greatest fighting force in the history of the world and vanguards that have kept America the land of the free and the home of the brave. Never forget, there ARE Americans who appreciate the honor and sacrifice each Marine lays on the edifice of democracy.

Posted by don_burgess (anonymous) on November 9, 2006 at 11:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you for your kind words, Rational.

Posted by ranger73 (anonymous) on November 9, 2006 at 12:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I completely agree with Rationalanimal-

I'd like to think the folks who are out protesting this and that realize that without those who have served and died to protect and defend those rights-they wouldn't be there.

Semper Fi Marines!

Posted by BrianR (anonymous) on November 9, 2006 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Happy Birthday USMC.

Posted by Lepanto1571 (anonymous) on November 9, 2006 at 6:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Happy birthday to the United States Marine Corps.

God bless all Marines past and present, and their families, who are, and have served. And may He especially bless those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln: "have laid so costly a sacrifice on the altar of freedom."

Your sacrifice will never go unnoticed by many of us.

There is still a crusty layer of Americana who understand sacrifice, its necessity for liberty, and thank God that the nation can still produce such men and women.

Semper Fi

Lepanto Sua Sponte

Posted by coastiej (anonymous) on November 9, 2006 at 8:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From a fellow service member, thank you to all of the Marines and their families. Hoorah!

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you_are_pathetic_people 7 years, 5 months ago

so where are all of the smartass remarks on this one????

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