CAMP LEJEUNE -- It wasn't the traditional happy birthday song, but then again, it wasn't your typical birthday party. The Marine Corps is commemorating its 232nd birthday. Camp Lejeune Commanding Officer Col. Adele Hodges said, "It's just an awesome feeling to be part of an organization that has been in existence for 232 years." The birthday celebration included a historical pageant. It showcased Marine uniforms from as far back as 1775, the year the Marine Corps was established. Maj. Gen. Dennis Hejlik is the oldest Marine at Camp Lejeune. He said, "It's just an honor and a privilege to be able to continue to serve, it really is." Hejlik is the oldest active Marine at Camp Lejeune with 38 years of service under his belt. He said, "I never thought in 1968 as a private from Garner, Iowa that I would be standing here today, 38 years later." He helped cut the cake with Camp Lejeune's youngest Marine, 18-year-old Private Luis Garcia. The traditional cake-cutting is a symbol of passing along knowledge from one generation of Marines to another. Garcia said, "It's an honor. Not many Marines get this opportunity so, very glad to be out here today." Liversedge Field was filled with the pride and honor that come with being a Marine. Hejlik said, "Always seek to do your best, always seek to be leading your Marines, be a good leader, be a good follower and the Marine Corps will take care of you." The Marine Corps actual birthday is November 10, but the celebration was Thursday since the 10th falls on a weekend.
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