The University of Toledo hosted a breakfast Nov. 10 to honor veterans and celebrate the Marine Corps’ 242nd birthday.
Over 300 people attended the 13th Annual Veteran’s Breakfast and Resource Fair. It was co-hosted by the American Red Cross and the Veteran’s Service Commission.
“The event was to provide a celebration and honor the veterans since we would not be here without them,” said Peggy Holewinski, a major gifts officer for the American Red Cross.
The collaboration gave everyone an opportunity to participate and to help the veterans. Kappa Psi Pharmacy Fraternity volunteered to help prepare and clean up after the event, Holewinski said.
Jerry Anderson, WTOL News 11 anchor, introduced the event and presented the various speakers.
The keynote speaker, Major Daniel Wendolowski, talked about the Marine Corps’ nearly 300 years of service.
“It’s a brotherhood, it’s a family thing,” Wendolowski said. “Neither the celebration of birthdays is about any one Marine; it’s about our past to honor the gentlemen sitting here and the ones before them and as we gave the piece of cake to the youngest Marine. It’s also about the future of the Marine Corps.”
During the celebration, a cake was cut into two pieces: one for the keynote speaker and one for the oldest Marine. This symbolized the experience and wisdom of the eldest Marine. He then he passed it to the youngest Marine to symbolize the renewal of the corps.
A fourth-grade class from Waterville Primary School sang each branch of the military’s songs, including “In Flanders Fields” and “God Bless the USA.”
Holewinski said this event gave the fourth-graders a chance to learn about the military and the flag.
Many booths were set up for the resource fair, such as Lutheran Social Services, UT’s Office Diversity and Inclusion and Penta Career Center.
At the event, a table with one chair was set up to honor the prisoners of war and the men and women missing in action. During the Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony, a bell was rung when Roy Hernandez, a member of the Marine Corps League, said, “Remember.”
“The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead,” said Hernandez. “Remember. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. Remember. The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast. The chairs are empty – they are missing. Remember, remember, remember.”