I had the pleasure and honor to attend the WNC 237th United States Marine Corps Birthday Ball at Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel on Saturday, Nov. 3. I have to say it was a great honor to be in a room with so much history, tradition, and so many American heroes. This was my third attendance at the celebration of the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps, and I have to say this by far was the best and most gratifying of all. To see Marines that had served from Guadalcanal to Afghanistan, and every war or conflict in between together celebrating their brotherhood, left many in the room touched and without a dry eye at times.
The host was the Sgt. Doug Myers Detachment of the Marine Corps League, and what a great job they did bringing the event together and in a way that touched everyone in attendance. The emcee of the event, Gregory Hunt, did a remarkable job of telling the story of the camaraderie and brotherhood of the Marine Corps while keeping everyone's attention wanting to hear more.
From Robert S. Youngdeer, Marine Staff Sergeant, Former Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and a Guadalcanal survivor, to the three young Marines that served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, again the room was filled with true American Heroes.
It was an evening of ceremony, laughter, good conversation, and a time for appreciation of those who have given so much to America so that we can have and enjoy the freedom and ability to enjoy the life we have.
I recently discovered the Sgt. Doug Myers Detachment is named in honor of Sgt. Doug Myers, a young man from Sylva who gave his life for America while serving as part of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit in Beirut, Lebanon as part of a Multinational Peacekeeping mission. Sgt. Doug Myers was one of the Marines that perished in the barracks bombing on Oct. 23, 1983.
I got to see some Marine families and friends that I hadn't had a chance to see since last year's celebration, and it was like we hadn't stopped starting since last year.
As I looked around the room, it truly touched my heart to see young men and women that I have to give thanks to for deciding there was something bigger and more important than them in this world.
As I listened to Mr. Hunt recite the POW/MIA Remembrance selection, I realized the true meaning of his words. There are many that I owe thanks to, that I will never be able to see or to give that thanks in person, since they are either still missing in action, or being held as POW's somewhere.
When Mr. Hunt finished, I noticed a lot of napkins wiping away tears, as I was wiping my eyes as well.
It's so great that even in a time of celebration the Marines will take time to remember those who are unable to celebrate with them.
Again, I just want to thank the Sgt. Doug Myers Detachment and Gregory Hunt for an evening that I won't forget anytime soon. You guys did a tremendous job and I know all in attendance feel the same as I do.
To the United States Marine Corps and its 237th Birthday, I salute you and say thank you and am already looking forward to next year.
Louise Womack — Franklin, N.C.