Military personnel and the public celebrated the 243rd birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps during a ball at the Brookings Elks Lodge Saturday.

The event was hosted by the Calvin E. Murphy Detachment 578 of the Marine Corps League. It included a dinner, birthday cake, a silent auction, raffle, photographs and a dance.

The festive occasion began on a somber note as Mike Hamilton, senior vice commandant of the detachment, stood in front of a lone table set for a meal and paid honors to Prisoners of War and Missing in Action soldiers. Hamilton explained the meaning of each item on the table.

Following the dinner, Commandant Mike Cooper had everyone stand and thanked everyone for helping and coming to the celebration.

A U.S. Marine color guard presented the flags followed by a presentation by a birthday message from Hamilton.

Each service was honored. When the theme song for the military branch was played, the veterans would stand.

Of course, there was birthday cake. The first pieces were cut with a sword and, following tradition, the first slice went to the oldest Marine attending, Richard Weber, and the youngest, Chris Felanclico.

Ceremonies closed with the announcement that the Marine Corps League donated $200 each to Katelyn’s Cause Foundation, Safety City and Brookings Emblem Club to send Christmas letters to service personnel.

21748507