Whether together in the ditches or together at picnic tables, Marines like to be around Marines.
The Marine Corps League Cabarrus County Detachment 1175 will hold its semi-annual barbecue 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 5 at Northwest Cabarrus Park. The league welcomes all who have served or are currently serving in the military and a $6 donation is appreciated to cover the meal, said Alex Bishop, Cabarrus detachment commandant.
"Once you've been in the Marine Corps, you find yourself wanting to be around other Marines because you share a common history," said Bishop. "You've lain in the mud together and there is that bond and heritage. You took the same oath under the Constitution to serve and protect and go to war for your country."
With 59 detachments, North Carolina has more detachments than any other state. The Cabarrus league has 42 members, said Gene Boelte, public relations officer of the Cabarrus detachment. Members also meet for dinner the first Monday of each month at Troutman's Bar-B-Que in Concord.
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In the league, former Marines are able to assist and serve community members and veterans, said Bishop.
"The Marine Corps league is really focused on being there for each other, not only for comrades, but families as well," said Bishop. "We are cut from a different cloth and there's a common bond and heritage between Marines."
The Cabarrus detachment focuses on projects such as Toys for Tots, for which it collected more than 3,000 toys last Christmas, and Men For Change, a project centered around the issue of abuse, said Boelte. The league also collects magazines for a VA hospital, for example.
The league is not limited to those projects and often aids other organizations.
"Last year, I remember a house being built by Habitat for Humanity in the Concord area had all of its vinyl siding stolen before they could get it up on the house," said Boelte. "So, we all chipped in and took some money from the league treasury and were able to get together enough money to go a long way towards that."
The league will also be celebrating the Marine Corps 234th birthday Nov. 10. Activities include a birthday cake cutting, reading of the names of Marines in the Charlotte area who have died in the past 12 months and a reading from the commandant.
"As I look back on it, it's just a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that you've tried to serve your country in what I consider to be the best and most elite military unit in the world," said Boelte. "As for the detachment itself, it provides many services to the community, and we are always looking for more and trying to involve ourselves in more."
Boelte has this to say about and to current Marines: "Do not become overwhelmed by the pressures they are facing everyday, and remember who they are and what they are and what they belong to. They belong to the best fighting force in the country and in the world, and the Marine Corps will take care of them, make no mistake about that."