NEW ORLEANS --
Whether they walked, used a cane for assistance or got pushed in a wheel chair, many generations of former service members came together Nov. 7 to celebrate Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps’ Birthday.
This year, the Molly Marine Chapter LA-1, a Women Marines Association chapter, held their annual celebration at the Lambeth House, a nursing home here where many veterans reside.
WMA is a non-profit charitable organization comprised of women who have served or are currently serving in the United States Marine Corps active or Reserve components.
“One of our missions is to take care of the elderly,” said retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Melanie L. Young, the president of Molly Marine Chapter LA-1.
Additionally, the Chapter takes it upon themselves to provide various community services in the area such as feeding the homeless and participating in the March of Dimes.
One type of community service they provide is an annual Molly Marine Statue beautification. The original Molly Marine Statue, located at the intersection of Canal and Elks Place Streets, was donated by a local recruiter on Nov. 10, 1943 to support female recruiting efforts.
“Every year after Mardi Gras we go and clean her up, make sure she looks good,” said Young.
The former Marines who provide these services are composed of a diverse group of women from different backgrounds and several generations.
One of the women, Marian Y. Landry, is the oldest member of the chapter at 91 years of age. She served in one of the first female Marine platoons that reported to Parris Island, S.C., for basic training in 1943.
Old or young, these veterans stood tall, if possible, with their hands over their hearts as the celebration kicked off with the Marine Band at New Orleans’ Brass Quintet playing the U.S. National Anthem. Following that, everyone recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
After the room was seated, 2nd Lt. Lindsay Thorstenson cut the Marine Corps birthday cake with a Mameluke sword. The youngest Marine present, Brenlie Wilson, a former sergeant, waited to pass the cake out to the rest of the guests starting with Landry.
As the ceremony wrapped up, the quintet began to play a medley of service anthems. They started with the Anchors Aweigh, flowed into the Army Goes Rolling Along, then Semper Paratus, followed by the Air Force Song and finally the Marines Hymn.
Veterans of each branch were asked to stand or wave their hands to be recognized as they heard their service’s song. As soon as the Marines Hymn was heard, Marines of all generations were seen standing rigid at the position of attention.