OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — It’s not everyday you can celebrate a 246th birthday. Marines past and present gathered at Veterans Community Project in Kansas City, Missouri, to do just that. The U.S. Marine Corps officially turned 246 years old Wednesday.
Emiloe Caldwell, a Kansas City native who spent four years in the Marines, cut the cake and followed the longstanding tradition to hand the first piece to the oldest marine, who hands it to the youngest.
“It’s a great honor,” Caldwell said. “On this day you remember why you signed up, you remember why you do what you do.”
VCP remembers the sacrifices Caldwell made. Which is why the nonprofit known for its village of tiny homes got Caldwell out of a homeless shelter and into one of those one-person homes, then helped him find jobs serving at two restaurants and support his work on his passion of voice acting.
“I’ve gone from a survival mentality to just a living mentality,” Caldwell admitted. “Now it’s much more stable.”
As the rest of the country celebrates Veterans Day, VCP highlights why it’s important to support these veterans every day of the year, whether it’s a birthday or a holiday.
“Veterans took the oath to support and defend the constitution. If there’s somebody you need to take care of, that’s the community you need to take care of in my opinion,” Matt Bonnot, a retired Marine colonel who now volunteers at VCP after serving on its board of directors, explained.
He knows veterans are the reason we can celebrate.