By Brenda Shepard, Staff
The Winnachronicle, November 15, 2006
"The Student Voice of Winnacunnet High School"
Hampton, New Hampshire
On November 10, 2006, The Marine Corps Junior ROTC classes came together along with veterans, families and faculty to celebrate the 231st birthday of the United State's Marine Corps, born on November 10, 1775 in Tun Tavern, Pa. Both students, as well as the veterans that were present, seemed particularly chatty as they caught up with one another and traded stories. More than two generations old, the Marine Corps has seen death, life, pain, suffering, love and no shortness of honor. "I feel proud to be in ROTC. We are all here in our uniforms as one for a higher purpose," said Nick Jacobs (11). In the Winnacunnet Auditorium that day; an almost palpable spirit was present among both enlisted and retired, both young and old.
Cadet Sergeant Margo Reola (11) provided a charming rendition of the Star Spangled Banner as the colors were presented by the MCJROTC color guard. Major Michael Petruzziello, USMC (Ret) acknowledged the veterans present for the ceremony about those who have fallen in war. "There is one thing I have found in common between all veterans that I have ever met: humility,".said Petruzziello. He spoke of phrases such as "I only did my job,"..."I merely answered the call," or "1 was just doing my duty" that seem to be universal among these men and women who have and are serving their country. He =niched with the only right thing to say, "Thank you."
After a standing ovation for the veterans from the rest of the crowd, General John A. Lejeune's message was read by MGySgt Fran Henderson, USMC (Ret). Lejeune wrote of the "generations [that) have grown grey as marines" and of the "eternal spirit" of the "illustrious men" serving our country. Their distinguished work "epitomizes the qualities which are their legacy." He also wrote of the precious families that have constantly given support and strength to those serving. These families and friends have been the strength behind the men and women who have earned the title "Marine" Cadet Major April Reola (12) went on to read a message from General Michael W. Hagee, in which she spoke of "honor, dedication and dignity on the front lines in the War on Terror." Daily, men and women from many different backgrounds put their lives on the line for our safety at home.
The guest of honor, -a marine s Marine" Colonel Michael F. Belcher, UMSC, Commanding Officer, 25th Marine Regiment, who can literally say "been there done that" said Petruzziello, served as military governor in Kibali. Iraq as well as molding citizens into Marines as a recruit. He spoke of two points in history that seem to connect perfectly. The first was in 1804, when the U.S. was merely 25 years into democracy, the United States were threatened and terrorized by the Barbary States. Finally, the U.S. said, "enough" A coalition was formed including the a small unit of 9 Marines who crossed the desert into a Pasha's Palace. They attacked and took the palace and raised the first American flag on foreign soil. Belcher then jumped to 2006 on the Arab Peninsula and the horn of Africa and the War of Terror. "Small bans of Marines have always been there to protect Democracy and American interest." said Belcher. "The Marine Corps is a living, breathing history, and present today are the past the present and the future" of the United States.
A small girl in the third row watched the sea of camouflage uniforms with a look of awe. This was surely something she had never experienced before. She scanned the room and then came upon a row of veterans proudly displaying their matching red jackets. ,Whether in war of peace, these veterans served their country with humility and spirit. Even at such a young age the child understood the atmosphere of the event she was a spectator of. She could undoubtedly understand the spirit of the ceremony and of the day itself. Semper Fidelis.