"The President's Own" U.S. Marine Corps Band provided the music for the ceremony, which included the national anthem and Anchors Aweigh.
Every year the ceremony honors one of the branches of the U.S. military. This year the Navy Memorial museum, adjacent to the memorial opened a new exhibit, "The Year of the Marine Corps," showcasing 240 years of the Corps, from an array of different uniforms over the decades to details about some of the most famous Marines in history.
Representing the Marine Corps was keynote speaker Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force. With a clear voice, full of passion and authority, Berger spoke of the gallantry and close relationship the Marine Corps and Navy have had for 240 years.
This year is the year of the Marine Corps, but I would offer to you that every year is the year of the Navy and the Marine Corps." - Lt. Gen. David H. Berger
"In 1775, the Continental Congress created both the Navy and the United States Marine Corps one month apart and we've been operating hand in hand as one team protecting this nation ever since," Berger continued his voice still strong and direct, all eyes from the crowd were on him.
"All of our medical personnel come from the Navy," Berger said. "Navy corpsmen, who we affectionately call docs, save lives of wounded Marines. I would offer that tomorrow's fight, wherever that conflict or crisis is, the one we train for everyday is a naval fight. It is not a Navy fight and it is not a Marine Corps fight, it is a naval fight. I believe in my heart that we have the finest fighting force this world has ever seen. As we bless our fleets today I'd ask that all of us remember those that once served in uniform defending this nation, those serving today, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedoms ensuring that every American citizen can enjoy our freedoms our forefathers envisioned."