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Happy birthday, U.S. Marine Corps

November 12, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Although Veterans Day was yesterday, there is cause to say thank-you each and every day to those who have and are serving in the military.

Since I don't have a community page on Sunday, I knew this photo was destined for today's page the moment I took it.

Nov. 10 marked the 237th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps, an occasion that did not go unnoticed or unmarked by a group of local veterans who come together every Wednesday for breakfast at Lancelot's in Wintersville.

Article Photos

Among those on hand for the event were, above, clockwise, from left, seated, Rhyme Calauad, Marines; Bob Phillipson, Marines; Lucian Zook, Marines; George Mains, Marines; Bill Sharp, Marines; Don McLaughlin, Marines; Charlie Green, Marines; and Leonard Ellis, Marines; and standing, George Wilson, Marines; Bill Harrah, Marines; Brian Conlon, Navy; Art Panepucci, Army; Frank Bengier, Marines; John Cucarese, Marines; Clyde Morelli, Navy; George Glikes, Navy; Frank Vallera, Marines; Nick Drazich, Air Force; Jay Kolenc, Army; Vee Jay Beadling, Marines; Ron Millanti, Marines; Len Masci, Marines; and Butch Irwin, Navy.
-- Janice R. Kiaski

The Band of Brothers - a group of veterans that originally consisted of all Marines but has since expanded to include other veterans representing other branches of the military - marked the occasion a few days early, on Wednesday since it was their regular get-together day.

I attended the celebration at the invitation of Ron Millanti, a Marine veteran.

There on a table in front of a flag was a birthday cake, a sword with which to cut it and two bottles of wine for a toast to the Marine Corps as well as a toast to the Band of Brothers' fallen comrades. They toasted members of the group who have passed away since the last birthday was marked - Jim McClain, Ray Simmons and Don Bradley.

The celebration tradition is that the cake is cut with the sword by the second oldest person in the group, in this case, Len Masci of Wintersville. The oldest Marine gets the first piece of cake - it was Leonard Ellis of Follansbee, who is 90. And the youngest there, in this case, Rhyme Calauad, got the second piece of cake.

The symbolism of the cake first to the oldest Marine, then the youngest, is the passing of knowledge and tradition from the older generation to the new, so goes the explanation on the Marines' official website.

Normally there are about 20 veterans who come to the breakfast but there have been as many as 30.

Among those on hand for the event were Rhyme Calauad, Marines; Bob Phillipson, Marines; Lucian Zook, Marines; George Mains, Marines; Bill Sharp, Marines; Don McLaughlin, Marines; Charlie Green, Marines; and Leonard Ellis, Marines; George Wilson, Marines; Bill Harrah, Marines; Brian Conlon, Navy; Art Panepucci, Army; Frank Bengier, Marines; John Cucarese, Marines; Clyde Morelli, Navy; George Glikes, Navy; Frank Vallera, Marines; Nick Drazich, Air Force; Jay Kolenc, Army; Vee Jay Beadling, Marines; Ron Millanti, Marines; Len Masci, Marines; and Butch Irwin, Navy.

The Band of Brothers members get together for camaraderie, their common denominator being their service to their country.

Again to all veterans, I thank you for your service.

 
 

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