By Jeff Coey
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) staff and stakeholders often encounter embassy personnel while sharing information with the offices of ag affairs and USDA Agricultural Trade Offices (ATO) assigned to posts around the world. The overseas support of the U.S. State Department and USDA staff in markets with USW offices is essential to our mission to bring services and information to U.S. wheat buyers, wherever they may be. U.S. embassies and consulates are guarded by special U.S. Marine detachments who circulate on two- to three-year cycles to one of 181 posts around the world. Visitors to embassies will invariably pass through security that is handled primarily by local contractors. But every day at the final checkpoint, one or more U.S. Marines, usually dressed in fatigues, stand watch.
The U.S. Marine Corps was officially founded Nov. 10, 1775, and it has become customary in the 20th century to celebrate this founding wherever active duty Marines gather. Hong Kong, where USW also has an office, is no exception. USW was honored to donate the cake, made with U.S wheat flour, used in this year’s ceremony at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau. As USW Regional Vice President for China and Taiwan, I attended the ceremony and, accompanied by ATO Attaché Ms. Alicia Hernandez, thanked the Marines on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers (photo above).
Ceremonial cake made with U.S. wheat flour and donated by USW carries a shortened version of the U.S. Marine Corps motto in Latin, “Semper fidelis” translated to English as “Ever faithful.”
The Master of Ceremonies, the head of consulate security and a non-active-duty Marine himself, gave the history behind the cake ceremony and then played a video by the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General David Berger, featuring stories from U.S. Marine Corps veterans sharing memories from their time in service.
The cake was then brought forward in a procession to the Guest of Honor, Consul General Hanscom Smith, and cut with a ceremonial sword, as is tradition, and served first to Smith. The next person served was the oldest Marine in the room, a 57-year old non-active-duty Marine, who in turn served a slice to the youngest Marine in the room, a 24-year old corporal.
The cake is cut with a ceremonial sword by the commander of the U.S. Marine Corps detachment at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau.Click here to see more...