Human Interest

Members of all branches of the military joined together to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Sedona Elks Lodge.

Though notably the few and the proud, few is hardly a word to describe the years the Corps has been in existence. The Marine Corps was officially formed on Nov. 10, 1775, making it 240. The celebration was put on by the Sedona Detachment No. 1237  of the U.S. Marine Corps League.

After dinner, served by Sedona Red Rock High School’s Key Club, came the ceremonial cutting of the cake. During the ceremony, the youngest and oldest marine in the group take a saber to make the first cuts.

The ceremony continued as the Corps paid service to members who could not be there — prisoners of war or those counted among the missing in action. A single place was set at a lone table to honor them, and was explained in a poetic speech. Every detail of the place is steeped in symbolism — the white tablecloth stands for purity of the soldier’s intentions, the lemon on the plate representing their bitter fate, to the salt, which represents the tears of the soldier’s family.

Then came the recitation of several orders regaling the accomplishments of the Marine Corps before speaker Marine Capt. Monte MacConnell gave his speech about his return to Vietnam.
MacConnell served during the Vietnam War from 1969-70. While there, he and his wife adopted a girl whom they brought back to the U.S. MacConnell had two goals during his return trip: To see what the country was like now and to find the orphanage where he adopted his daughter.

He had only good things to say about the Vietnamese. He said the hotel staff treated him like family and even when he said he was a veteran of the war, it only served to bring him closer to the people around him. He had dinner with a former member of the North Vietnamese Army and his wife, adding there was no animosity, just two old adversaries exchanging tales.

To read the full story, see the Wednesday, Nov. 11, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.


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