May 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Marine Corps celebrates 232rd birthday

On Saturday morning, the parking spots in front of Moss` Prime Rib and Spaghetti House on Broad Street in Elyria are usually empty.

But yesterday, they filled up quickly as veterans of the Marine Corps – joined by veterans of  the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard – arrived to celebrate the 232nd birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The 65 people attending the celebration made it the largest gathering in the 15-year history of the event,  according to Sgt. Jay Ross, co-master of ceremoies, along with Lt. Rorick Amos.

Sandy Laubenthal, owner of Moss`, opened the restaurant for the group, with the agreement that she would serve a modest breakfast of bacon, eggs and coffee. However, when the group recognized her at the celebration, she added that she might be able to whip up some “SOS” – known as chipped beef on toast in the civilian world, but with a slightly different moniker in GI parlance.

Guest speakers included Charles A. de la Porte, consul, Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who spoke about how the crew of the submarine USS Cod, on view at the port of Cleveland, rescued the entire crew of the Dutch submarine, O-19, which was stranded on a reef in Japanese waters.

When the two crews reached a friendly port, they learned of the Japanese surrender.

Greg White, Marine veteran, former Lorain County assistant prosecutor and now U.S. attorney,  spoke to the crowd about the worth of fighting for freedom. Marine Sgt. Jay Ross performed the Marine Hymn on his saxophone.

In addition, Amos called for the oldest and youngest Marines present to help the cut the cake.

Clarence Miller, 91, of Amherst, a WWII Marine who survived the battle of Iwo Jima, and Tom Wallencheck, a Marine from Elyria who served from 1985 to 1989, answered that call.

Wallencheck said this is the first decade in about five decades when a Wallencheck family member is not in the service.

Using Lt. Amos` officer`s sword, and assisted by Amos, the two made the first slices in a cake that was shared by all.