MARINE BARRACKS, WASHINGTON -- The "oldest post of the Corps" kicked off its bicentennial celebration in a ceremony here, March 30, on the historic parade grounds of "8th and I."
General James L. Jones, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, as well as numerous other general officers and former barracks Marines were on hand to witness the commencement of the bicentennial celebration. During the commandant's speech, he made it clear why the 200 years of history behind Marine Barracks is so important.
"This is where the soul of the Marine Corps is nurtured," said Jones. "It is where we can come to be refreshed as Marines."
The ceremony began with a concert by America's oldest professional musical organization, "The President's Own" United States Marine Band. The band played a variety of patriotic arrangements, saluting the Marine Corps and its most famous director, John Philip Sousa.
The commencement continued with a special flag raising ceremony. In honor of the post's bicentennial, the flag raised was an exact replica of the National Ensign that would have flown in 1801. The replica contains 15 stars and 15 stripes. This historical flag will be flown for all ceremonies conducted at the barracks throughout this bicentennial year.
Upon completion of the flag raising, a traditional cake cutting ceremony honored the Marines who had the longest and shortest service at the post.
The Marines honored were Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles V. Corrado of "The President's Own" and Private First Class Brian D. Franks of Headquarters and Service company. Corrado has served at the Barracks for 39 years; Franks, for one week.
The ceremony concluded with General Jones and Col. Richard T. Tryon, Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, unveiling the bicentennial plaque. The plaque commemorates the 200 years of faithful service Marine Barracks has given to our Corps and our nation. The commemorative inscription will be mounted on the brick wall at the entrance to Center walk next to the Barracks Mast and Ceremonial Bell.
The barracks will continue to celebrate its bicentennial, culminating with the final Evening Parade of the summer, Aug. 31.