CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) — Happy birthday on Thursday to the Marine Corps. Festivities took place at Camp Lejeune and New River to mark the 247th birthday.

New River hosted a two-mile run that was scheduled to take place there at 8 a.m. At Camp Lejeune, a cake-cutting ceremony was held at the installation theater. It featured the passing of a slice of cake from the oldest Marine in attendance to the youngest as well as remarks from the commanding general of the base.

“We pass the cake, one to the oldest Marine that symbolizes our history in our paths,” said Gen. Andrew M. Niebel of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “And that oldest brain then passes it to the youngest Marine president, that symbolizes the transfer of knowledge and wisdom to the next generation of Marines is going to lead our corps.”

That was livestreamed on the Camp Lejeune Facebook page.

It was a moment Janayrelis Matute, who was the youngest Marine, said he would never forget.

“It’s always been a dream of me to join the military so to be recognized for putting all that hard work it meant a lot,” Matute said.

The cake-cutting ceremony also included the reading of Lt. Gen. Lejeune’s birthday message.

The Marine Corps was formed on Nov. 10, 1775, in Philadelphia’s Tun Tavern. The birthday was originally celebrated on July 11th until the year 1921, when the date changed to November 10th to commemorate the establishment of the Corps’ aid in the Revolutionary War. 

(Yolanda Mayo video)

“It doesn’t matter what your age, what your experiences, we are all Marines. And we’re all Marines deep in our heart,” Niebel said.

Officials said they hope the celebration on both bases will help unite all Marines, past and present.

“I love seeing young and old Marines get together because together we fight, it doesn’t matter what your age is or what your job is,” Niebel said. “We fight together as a team.”

“I’ve been waiting for this my whole entire life. It’s such an honor, so it’s a pleasure to be here,” Matute said.

Here are some facts about the Marine Corps:

  • The official commemoration of the Marine Corps birthday started on Nov. 10, 1921
  • Before 1921, the Marine Corps birthday was celebrated informally, and normally, in July
  • Normally, the oldest and youngest Marines at the celebration are recognized during the cake-cutting ceremony
  • The Marine Corps emblem is The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor
  • The Marine Corps motto Semper Fidelis means Always Faithful