WASHINGTON -- Members of the Senate and House of Representatives attended a Marine Corps cake-cutting ceremony on Capitol Hill Nov. 15-16.
The ceremonies were attended by Congressional delegates and their staff, many of whom served in the Marine Corps. Also on hand for both events was the newly-appointed 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James. T. Conway.
“I think the Marine Corps has a very special relationship with Congress,” said Conway. “In fact, it was the Continental Congress back in 1775 that declared there would exist a Corps of Marines."
Before the cake presentations, Conway thanked everyone for their attendance and explained his thoughts on this long-held tradition.
“The oldest is Marines saying … lad, I will teach you what you need to know,” said Conway. “I trust that you will assume my job and because I care for you, should you someday fall on the battlefield we will make sure you are recovered.
“The youngest Marine is saying … old guy, I’m as tough as you to be a part of this outfit,” said Conway. “I respect the honor that you have brought to this position in the Corps and I will carry on the legacy of the Marines.”
Conway then presented a piece of cake to the youngest and oldest Marine present.
The oldest Marine present during the Senate's ceremony was Lt. Col. Frank Kelly. Kelly, who was born in New York City on Dec. 26, 1932, retired from the Marine Corps in 1975. He currently serves as military legislative assistant to Senator Daniel Inouye and has worked in that office for 30 years.
The youngest Marine present was Capt. Joseph C. Maher. Maher was born in Omaha, Neb., on April 26, 1980 and currently works in the office of Senator Chuck Hagel as a deputy military legislative assistant.
During the House's ceremony, Congressman Vic Snyder was the oldest Marine present. Snyder, who was born in Medford, Ore., on Sept. 27, 1947, served in the Marine Corps from 1967 to 1969. He has represented Arkansas' 2nd district since 1996.
The youngest Marine present was Cpl. Jennifer Evitts. Evitts was raised in Wilkes Barre, Pa., and born on Aug. 19, 1983. She is currently assigned to the Marine Corps House Liaison Office.
A cake-cutting is only one of many events associated with the Corps’ birthday and carried out by Marines all over the world every 10th of November.
“You may ask yourself, of all our courtesies and traditions that we have, do they make a difference or count for anything,” said Conway. “My answer to you ladies and gentlemen is absolutely.”
To view photos from the cake-cutting ceremonies, visit the Commandant of the Marine Corps Photo Gallery at www.marines.mil/cmc/photos/index.html.