The United States Marine Corps has defended the nation's liberty for 237 years and Nov. 10 marked the celebration of their birthday for decades. Today, Lowndes County veterans have picked up the baton in an effort to keep the county's recognition of the date moving forward.
In honor of the passing of the late Billy Langdale, event organizer and veteran, a group of revelers and comrades recognized last year's Marine Corps birthday without a formal celebration.
This year, Bubba Nolan and American Legion officials revived the Lowndes County's Marine Corps birthday celebration and dedicated it to Langdale.
The group held a reading and a served cake decked out with the US Marine Corps’ emblem.
The first two slices went to the two gentlemen tied for “Oldest Marine,” James “Pete” Bentley and John Eades, and the third slice went to Sgt. Kaluaokal Kaiahua who was dubbed the “Youngest Marine.”
"It's been seventy years since I enlisted," said John Eades of the 3rd Marine Air Wing and a veteran of the war efforts in the Pacific theater. Eades said he enlisted on the day of the Marine Corps's birthday, seventy years ago.
“Most of us were just little shirt-tail kids, and hadn't been more than 20 miles from home,” said Eades. “But we always wanted to wear the Marine Corps's uniform so that we could 'snow' the women.”
Eades said he bounced around from camps in North Carolina and California before being sent overseas to participate in the war effort.
"But never ever did I have an opportunity to wear that Marine Corps uniform or snow a single woman," said Eades before chuckling.
“The crowd today was lively as they shared each other's company and exchanged stories,” said Nolan. "That's what it's about. People don't always realize what our veterans have gone through.”