Veterans Day is still one day away, but some local marines have another reason to celebrate Wednesday. Current and former marines from Valdosta are celebrating the Marine Corp's 229th birthday.
The marines didn't need streamers or balloons to celebrate the Marine Corp’s birthday. All they needed was each other and their memories, and maybe a piece of cake or two.
Andrell Durden, a current marine, says, "Just to see people from around the world in this local area is great, especially on the Marine Corp birthday."
Current and former marines spent the morning sharing war stories and fond memories from their days of service. Some marines say they didn't realize how many marines were still in the Valdosta area.
Richard Cochran, also a former marine, says, "Coming from California, Valdosta is a relatively small community, so having the turn out we had today is very unexpected, and it’s good."
The oldest marine at the celebration says he couldn't be happier to see that the Marine Corp still continues to change people's lives for the better.
William Langdale, a former marine of 10 years, says, "The noble Marine Corp has done a good job of making these young people dutiful and mindful of their Ps and Qs. It makes me feel good."
And even though some of their brothers and sisters are overseas fighting for our freedom, marines here say they'll still remember to say "happy birthday."
Durden adds, "Today, even in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Marines are celebrating the United States Marine Corp birthday."
As for these marines young and old, once a marine, always a marine. Military officials say there are more than 40,000 current and former marines living in and around the Valdosta area.