News: Children’s ball teaches traditions
Story by Cpl. John Suleski
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. - The Marine Corps is one large family, and family consists of not only brothers and sisters, but parents and children.
Parents teach their children how to survive in life and many also pass down superstitions, religion and traditions. The Marine Corps is rich in tradition, one of them being the celebration of its birthday with a ball.
Children of Marines from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 learned about tradition and danced the night away with their parents at a children’s ball held at the officers’ club aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River, Oct. 20.
“It’s awesome,” said Lance Cpl. Anthony G. Jerez, VMM-263 airframe mechanic. “It shows the traditions we do and why we do it at the ball every year.”
This is the second children’s ball held by the squadron, said Jennifer L. Parrish, VMM-263 family readiness officer. The first one, held last year, boosted the children’s morale as their parents were on deployment.
The night reflected many components of a birthday ball, including a cake-cutting ceremony.
The cake-cutting ceremony consisted of Lt. Col. Thomas P. Mitalski, VMM-263 commanding officer, giving the first piece of cake to the oldest child and serving the second piece to the youngest child.
The cake was cut with a child-sized sword.
The meal consisted of many child-friendly choices, including meatballs and macaroni and cheese. In lieu of an open bar, the ball featured healthier choices of ice water and pink lemonade.
However, the favorite part of many little ones was the cake, said Eliana, Jerez’s six-year-old daughter. The cake gave them enough sugar-induced energy to unwind on the dance floor.
Parrish had many balloons that she gave them to children to play with on the dance floor. They had a lot of fun with the helium-filled toys, she said. The numerous loud pops gave proof to fun and the balloons’ untimely demise.
“I don’t know how many balloons are going to survive tonight,” said Parrish.
The guest of honor was none other than the squadron’s mascot, the Thunder Chicken. Although some were scared by the chicken’s appearance, the bird entertained the children on the dance floor while he did his own chicken dance.
While he does not have any chicks of his own, the squadron mascot understood the meaning of the ball.
“It’s important for the kids to have fun while learning what we do at the ball each year,” said Thunder Chicken.