News: 22nd MEU families celebrate Marine Corps birthday during kids' ball
Story by Cpl. Charles Clark
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Parents and children danced and celebrated the Marine Corps birthday during the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Kids’ Ball at the Marston Pavilion Tinian Room aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Nov. 3.
More than 300 military spouses, children and ceremony attendees participated in the birthday ball to learn traditions and have fun together while their spouses are deployed.
“My kids look forward to this every year and love to put on their fancy clothes,” said Maghan R. Spring, a military spouse. “This is a lot of fun for both the kids and the adults. We get to see our friends and have fun for the evening.”
The evening started when Marines from 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, marched the colors and the birthday cake during the opening ceremony.
The oldest and youngest military children present at the event cut the cake with a miniature replica Mameluke sword.
Traditionally, a sword is used to cut the cake as a reminder Marines are a band of warriors who are committed to carrying the sword so the nation may live in peace.
“I’m proud of my father for defending our freedom,” LaDarrius D. Marshall, a 17-year-old and the oldest military child at the ball. “Since I’m the oldest child here, I get to lead the rest of the children this year, and I can see they look up to me. It’s great to have everybody come together as one big family.”
The slice of cake presented to the oldest child represents the uncommon dedication military families reveal as they support their Marines through deployments and years of service.
1st Sgt. Patricia A. Trotter, the battalion first sergeant, spoke about the difficulties families go through when their loved ones are deployed and how Marine Corps families look after their own.
“We are honored to be able to support the families here by showing them how Marines act during our birthday celebration,” Trotter said. “It was really great to see the look on the children’s faces as the Marines presented and cut the cake.”
After the ceremony, the families ate, danced and posed for photos that will be sent to their Marines and sailors aboard ship.
“This is our best event for the children each year,” said Jennifer L. Parrish, the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 family readiness officer. “The event grows each year and is always put together very smoothly with the help of all the FROs under the MEU. I look forward to it being even bigger and better next year.”
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