Former Marines who attend American River College have fond memories of the celebrations they have participated in commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the United States Marine Corps on Nov. 10, 1775.
Daniel Avegalio, a Marine veteran who is a full time staff member at the Veterans Resource Center, became accustomed to the tradition during his time serving.
“The celebration was huge,” said Avegalio. “I remember the sergeant of the Marine Corps giving a speech before the ball began. I believe the Marines have the most honor for their branch because of the adoration that’s shown during this celebration.”
At this ball, Marines participate in dances, musical acts and mock battles.
There is also a special cake cutting ceremony. The cake is cut with a Mameluke sword so Marines are reminded that they are warriors who carry the blade so that America can live in peace.
The first piece of cake is given to the guest of honor while the second is given to the oldest Marine present at the ceremony.
When the oldest Marine receives the second piece of cake, they then pass it on to the youngest Marine at the ceremony to show the passing of experience and knowledge from old to young.
The ball symbolizes a renewal of a Marine’s commitment to the corps.
Patrick Steuber, another former Marine who works in the Veterans Resource Center, was somewhat familiar with the Marine Corps birthday before he enlisted.
“When I celebrated on base I was in Afghanistan, my unit and I returned from patrol and started to celebrate with everyone else,” said Steuber. “We got to eat steak and cake. Celebrating off base was pretty fun too. I went to a Marine Corps birthday ball in Vegas.”
When Marines celebrate the birthday of the corps off base, they tend to go to public establishments to replicate a similar feeling of the celebration.
The Veterans Resource Center is in room 602 in the portable village. They are open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays.