COLORADO SPRINGS — We all know the slogan: the few, the proud, the marines. Today, November 10th, the day before Veterans Day, marks another celebration for service members.
It's the 246th birthday celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps, which honors the establishment of the organization. The military branch started back in 1775, leading up to the American revolution.
The first recruiting drive for the U.S. Marine Corps was set up at a bar in Philadelphia. It was called "Tun Tavern," and as any marine would tell you it was where the Marine Corps was founded.
How fitting that a local bar is having a Marine Corps birthday celebration on Wednesday evening. 1350 Distilling in downtown Colorado Springs prides itself on supporting the local veteran and military community.
The business is named after the 13 stripes and 50 stars on the American flag.
"At 1350, we celebrate the spirit of our military and their loved ones one drink at a time," said Jake Weien, one of the four owners of 1350 Distilling. He mentioned the owners come from a military family, and that his dad was in the Air Force and his brother served in the Army.
At the business is also a wall of honor for family members and friends of those who've served.
"We have all family and friends' portraits up here pre-dating World War II. The idea is that these are memories, these are friends, these are our loved ones," said Weien.
One of the portraits is of Phill Bragg, the head distiller and also co-owner of the business. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 27 years.
"In the Marine Corps, our birthday is a very, very important day. No matter where you're at in the world, or what you're doing, all marine units stop and celebrate. You ask any marine, he's going to tell you exactly when it is, he's going to tell you the first ball he went to, the first cake cutting ceremony he went to," said Bragg.
A traditional cake cutting ceremony is happening at the business. The first piece of cake is given to the guest of honor.
"Then we take the second piece of cake and we hand it first to the oldest marine present, and he takes a bite and he passes it to the youngest marine present. And that signifies passing of history and tradition from our oldest to our youngest marines," said Bragg.
Bragg retired from the military five years ago, but once a marine, always a marine.
"We just celebrate and its a great time to just have camaraderie and spend time with our fellow marines and our guests, celebrating our service," said Bragg. "It's a day we really get to focus on who we are as an organization."
Today was a salute to all the marines who've served for the past 246 years.
"It's quite moving for someone who has never been never experienced this ceremony. It makes you proud. It makes you proud of our marines. It makes you proud of our veterans, young and old," said Weien.
Veterans, active duty military and the public were welcome to attend the cake cutting ceremony. Each of the bottles of distilled products the business sells represents different branches of the military and first responders, like Wingman Gin, Minute Man Vodka, Leaherneck Dry Whiskey, Guardian Bourbons, and Bluejacket Rum.
1350 Distilling prides itself on giving back to the veteran and military community. They'll be offering specials to veterans on Veterans Day. Plus, every bottle sold that the distillery makes, 10% of profits are given to local veteran and military organizations.