MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Over 100 sailors and their guests, including Brig. Gen. Joseph J. McMenamin, recognized the 230th birthday of the United States Navy in a cake-cutting ceremony Oct. 13 in the division surgeon’s office.
The Continental Congress of the 13 colonies that would become the first United States of America decided on Oct. 13, 1775, that two armed vessels should be commissioned to search for British munitions supply ships, marking the beginnings of the Continental Navy.
This is significant because many believed taking on the British navy was foolish and impossible, said Lt. Cmdr. James M. Harris, 2nd Marine Division Surgeon.
Throughout the war for independence, the men of the Continental Navy sailed aboard more than 50 vessels and captured almost 200 British vessels in standing up to what was considered, at the time, to be the world's greatest fleet. Though the fledgling nation’s Congress didn’t officially establish the Department of the Navy until April 30, 1798, the Navy recognizes October 13 as its birthday for the tradition of maritime strength displayed during the Revolutionary War, and it is a matter of pride for today's sailors to pay commemoration to the landmark event.
“The Navy had a tremendous impact on the Revolution.” Harris said.
The ceremony began with the National Anthem followed by an invocation and prayer delivered by Cmdr. Gary W. Carr, 2nd Marine Division Chaplain.
“We have a strong history and heritage and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Harris said.
The ceremony continued with remarks from the various guests followed by the birthday messages from the chief of naval operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
This was followed by the Two-Bell ceremony. In the past, two bells marked the end of a routine day aboard ship. Taps would sound throughout the entire ship marking an appropriate time to honor departed shipmates.
The celebration ended with the cake-cutting ceremony. In tradition, the youngest sailor is served first outlining the responsibilities of caring for our sailors or Marines as they take leadership roles. In serving the oldest sailor next, it’s symbolic of youth caring for those who have experienced the hardships of a military career and giving them the energy to keep forging the future for those who follow.