U.S. Marine Corps celebrate it's 237th birthday
Veterans, enlisted men and women, and members of the Desert Hot Springs Junior ROTC all showed up to help honor the Marines Corps on their special day. Among those in attendance, four wounded warriors and the oldest living World War Two fighter pilot, Frederick R. Payne.
Also in attendance was Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks, who said, "Honoring the Marines and their birthday, and of course honoring all the members of the armed forces, both here and abroad on this Veterans Day weekend is what we look forward to every year."
Mayor Parks also presented a special honor to Colonel Carl Lewke, naming the day in his honor. The Colonel is the Senior Marine Instructor at Desert Hot Springs High School. Through his years of service, he's brought prestige to the program, helping many of it's members reach scholastic and military excellence.
Corporal Laticia Garcia is a former Cadet of the Colonels, who traveled from a Marine Corps Base in Japan to attend the event and honor Colonel Lewke. "He's a very nice person who has integrity. I see all of the honor, courage, and commitment on him and he deserves it," she said.
Colonel Lewke attributes the programs success to community support. He said, "I was really surprised and I was very appreciative of the fact, Mayor Parks has been a big supporter of our ROTC program at Desert Hot Springs High School, as well as the city council, and local businesses. And we would not be able to achieve what we did without their support."
But, of course, with Veterans Day on Monday, Colonnel Lewke says those returning home are the ones we really need to support. "I think that we as a society owe a tremendous debt to the men and women who have served. Especially those who have incurred injuries, and I think our highest priority as a nation must be to give these Veterans every possible assistance that we can, so they can transition from the military back into civilian life," Lewke said.
The ceremony closed with the singing of the Marines' Hymn, the presentation of the birthday cake, and a standing ovation for all who serve our country so well and so proudly.