Semper Fi Hall was a fitting site for a gathering of Marines, their spouses, and special invited guests to commemorate the 247th Birthday of the Corps. It was a “first-ever, first annual” event. The mission was to honor the sacrificial service of Marines who ranged in age from 28 to 72 — together with spouses and loved ones who helped sustain them in seasons of loss and hardship.

The hallowed Hall was made for gatherings like this one, and was made more hallowed because of it.

Guests arrived to a bagpiper’s accompaniment, and enjoyed a French 75 cocktail prepared by Bekah and Will Wolfe as they met old and new friends alike. Dinner began with a rendition of the National Anthem from Greensboro Opera’s David Holley. The 1775 Colonial Menu, curated by Chef Renee Schroeder, was farm-to-table and artfully set to the period (with great reviews from guests!). The spectacular USMC Birthday Cake was created by Jackie Donohoe, and cut with a mameluke sword. Local wines from JOLO Vineyards were provided by Ben McIndoe.

The Hall’s fire was blazing and its candles cast a timeless glow.

Prayer was offered by Pastor Gunnie Lockhart; a toast was made later by James Van Eerden. Readings included General Lejeune’s Birthday message, an excerpt from Henry’s Speech at Agincourt, and the Apostle Paul’s description of “The Body.” Special artifacts — including a card from young Matthew Lockhart and a tribute to USMC friend Randy Wilson (who died this past year) — were entered into the keepsakes drawer.

The laughter and tears shared, and the many stories told, were an enduring reminder of things Beautiful, Good and True. May we be faithful to those things. May our countrymen always cherish the understanding that freedom is never free.

Semper fidelis!

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