Tim Bush, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1984 to 1990, said he considers the dinner a special occasion.
“All our brothers get together and eat a meal and reminisce about what we’ve been through, said
Across the table from Bush was Scott Benson, an Afghanistan combat veteran who served with the Army National Guard’s 223rd Military Police Battalion based in Louisville, said this was his first year to attend. He hadn’t been to many veterans events overall, he said, but as a member of the Freedom Warriors he’s been doing more of that.
He was looking forward to reminiscing, hearing stories from soldiers “old and new,” and sharing a meal with them, he said.
Joe Litera, who served as a Marine in Vietnam 1965 to ’68, losing a leg while there, said the dinner is a way of thanking veterans for all they do.
“It just happens to fall on a special day for us, he said, referring to the Nov. 10 Marine Corps’ birthday.
Before the meal began, the USMC tradition was observed of having the oldest Marine and youngest Marine present cut the cake – this one celebrating 238 years – and get the first pieces, with 92-year-old John Wood taking the first slice, and James Boyter, 22, got the second.
As the occupants of each of the seven long tables, each seating as many as 36 people, took their turns standing in curved line for the buffet-style meal, they took advantage of the additional time to chat.
James Crow explained that had served in two wars and two branches of the military. He was in the USMC from 1943 to ’46, serving in World War II. Later, as a member of the 1st Battalion 623rd Field Artillery, he deployed to Korea during that conflict, and later left the service as a second lieutenant.