Families danced the afternoon away in celebration of the 244th Marine Corps Birthday, Nov. 3. Children and extended family received the opportunity to experience what a Marine Corps Birthday Ball is really like during the Family Ball at Tarawa Terrace Community Center on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

Girls got decked out in their prettiest dresses and boys in their finest eveningwear, and danced their way into the TTCC. Accompanied by their parents, also donning gowns and dress blues. Children were able to witness the presentation of colors by the Lejeune High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) and the ceremonial cake cutting, which is tradition at every Marine Corps Ball. Formal pictures were taken and patrons ate dinner.

"Most of the unit balls are tailored for adults only, with adult beverages and adult music selections,” said Shelly Johnson, the TTCC activities coordinator with Marine Corps Community Services. “Many service members enjoy bringing their children and celebrating with them in a kid friendly environment. We provide that for children to experience the traditions seen at the ball.”

The Lejeune High School JROTC read Gen. David Berger’s, commandant of the Marine Corps’, birthday message to the crowd. The cadets then presented colors, to the delight of children who watched in wonder as the JROTC members marched into the middle of the room, perfectly synchronized.

During the cake cutting ceremony, rather than the oldest Marine receiving a slice of cake to pass to the youngest Marine, a piece went to the oldest Marine in attendance to pass down to the youngest child present.

"Passing the cake from the oldest Marine to youngest child is a way to get the kids involved in the ceremony," said Staff Sgt. Lucaz Bustamonte. "There are a lot of things they face as military children that other children do not experience. This gives them a strong sense of Marine Corps traditions and pride in their unique childhoods."

Soon the children covered the dance floor to dance along with kid friendly lyrics and crowd favorites, while their parents showed off their best “Baby Shark” and “Hokey Pokey” moves.

For more information on TTCC events, visit www.mccslejeune-newriver.com/community.