By: Sabrina Ahmed
One branch of armed forces celebrates its birthday, with 237 years of service. Centuries of service unite the few and the proud, and Saturday, one man was recognized for his service with the Marine Corps.
"Semper Fi. It means Always Faithful. A saying that binds all marines together, because once a Marine, always a Marine.
"Semper Fi. Happy Birthday. Semper Fi. Happy Birthday, Terry," two former Marines shared with each other.
The Marine Corps honored one veteran for the 234th anniversary of the force. Mike Kimmons served two tours in the Vietnam War. His family and friends surprised him at the Veterans Memorial at the Antelope Park in Lincoln.
Honoring him with a US flag that flew above the White House on 9/11, a Marine Corps flag that soared the skies above the headquarters in Nebraska, and a brick dedicated to him at the Veterans Memorial.
Kimmons said he's humbled by such an unforgettable distinction.
"I don't know that I deserve to be honored any more than anybody else," he said.
Dace Rusk helped organize the event. He said this is about more than Kimmons and his dedication to the country.
"Symbolic use of Mike to celebrate and thank all the Marines and the service men that service in Vietnam that weren't thanked formally," Rusk said.
Kimmons' long time friend and former Marine Terry Gillispie says the Marine Corps' birthday is helping remember those who serve our country, and recognizing the thousands of lives sacrificed.
"To every Marine, today is the day you remember your service—the good times and the bad," Gillispie said.
As the friends gathered to recall their times over seas, decades later, they still have one saying that holds true...
More than 200,000 men and women are currently serving as Marines. The veterans Saturday said, no matter when you serve, all are a part of the Marine Corps family.