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A special moment in American history was honored Tuesday morning at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
More than 400 U.S. Marines gathered for commemoration of the 245th birthday of the Marine Corps, complete with a traditional cake cutting ceremony and recognition of service.
Across the nation, Tuesday marked another milestone in the formation of the U.S. Marine Corps on Nov. 10, 1775, just eight months prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Marine Corps was established on that date by the Second Continental Congress.
In Pensacola, the ability of Blue Wahoos Stadium to host the ceremony and keep the gathering in proper physical distance made it a desired choice.
Shannon Reeves, the Blue Wahoos events manager, was contacted in September by Group Gunnery Sergeant Chris Clerico, operations chief for the Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21, to begin preparing for Tuesday’s ceremony.
The Blue Wahoos have worked with the Marines and other branches of the military in hosting previous events.
“They knew we had a lot of outdoor space and they could bring this many people,” Reeves said. “Plus, have a central location at home plate and the pitcher’s mound to do what they wanted to do, along with enabling everyone to see it, so it really worked well.”
The ceremony included the U.S. Marines Corps Hymn, along with playing of the Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic tributes to the moment in history.
It was another testament to what we can do here,” she said. “We just had 400 Marines and what a great ceremony and show. It was so great to see this.
“And to have everyone with masks on, so respectful, that was really great. They came in here (Tuesday morning) and roped off the entire sections of our stadium in about five minutes, so people could sit wherever they wanted and be safe.
“They really are a well-oiled machine in terms of how quickly they get it done and so respectful.”