They’re a small Marine Security Guard Detachment here at the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo, but they have hundreds, if not thousands, of fans. These men, aging from 23 years old to 47, all have combat experience and now guard the lives the consular officers night and day. (No, they are not Terminators; just so darn hard to get a good shot in almost pitch black without the eyes going all robotic!)

Today is the 237th birthday of the Marine Corps., and we helped celebrate last night at the Marine Ball.

The evening began with Marine Ceremony, including the Brazilian national anthem, the Marine Hymn, and the presentation of the Colors. This was followed by the dedication prayer, the American national anthem, and the cutting of the birthday cake with a ceremonial saber, which reminds us that they are warriors who protect our peace and freedom. The first bite was given to the Consul General, the second bite to the oldest Marine present, and the third to the youngest Marine present. A table was also set for those comrades in arms who had made the greatest sacrifice on behalf of the nation and could not join us last night.

During the remembrance video, all of those present were reminded of the sacrifice these men and women make today, and have made in the past, to keep the United States safe, and allow us to live a life of freedom. It was really a wonderful presentation, and so many people told me afterward that they kept feeling upwelling of pride throughout the evening.

How could you not, looking at those dashing young men in their dress uniforms? I’d put my life in their hands any day of the week!

Dinner followed the ceremony, and I was stunned to find that we were eating the first of two courses at 12:45 at night (or early morning)! Dancing began after dinner, but by the time we had finished our meal and gotten on the dance floor, there was only one song we could really dance to (Tony Bennett had been singing, via video, for about an hour before that). Then came Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and the rock and roll portion of the evening began. Dang! And Tom and I had even practiced our foxtrot and swing before getting dressed for the evening.

Ah well, it was a marvelous evening, with Tom in his new tuxedo and me all dressed up, while we enjoyed the company of our new, dear consulate friends.

Happy Birthday, Marines! We’re proud to know you!