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Marine celebrates 90th birthday with special flagpole ceremony

Once a Marine, always a Marine, is a slogan many Marines have heard at lest once during their career.


9/25/2009 By Sgt. Jereme Edwards, 9th Marine Corps District

Melvin Moore embodies that statement. Since 1946, Moore has raised the American and Marine Corps flags in front of his home -- in rain, shine, sleet or snow.

Former corporal Melvin Theodore Moore enlisted in the Marine Corps in Kansas City, Mo., in 1941 as an ammunition technician. He served in the South Pacific area from February 1941 to July 1944. He participated in the defense of Eniwetok, Marshall Islands from February to June 1944. He was honorably discharged from the separation battalion Camp Lejune, N.C. June 27, 1946.

Marines from Recruiting Substation North Indianapolis led an entourage of Moore’s friends, family and neighbors in celebrating, his 90th birthday, Sept. 18, which was affectionately named “Mel’s Day.”

What Moore lacks in stature, he more than makes up for with his quick wit, and timely remarks. “All you have to do is live until your 90, and everyone will recognize you,” Moore said joking with all in attendance.

“He fought in World War II in the South Pacific. He’s one of the few left that fought in World War II,” said neighbor Alan Vandermeer, during an interview with, a local television station.

“This man flies the US flag and the Marine flag everyday of the year. We thought it would be nice if [the Marines] raise the flag for him on his birthday,” said Vandermeer.

“As long as we can keep that eagle and flag flying, we’re okay, and we can get through anything,” Moore said to his guests.

Moore was surprised that the community took the time to honor him on his birthday. “I didn’t think anybody would do this,” Moore said. “But I am very pleased and very glad the Marines showed up here. It makes me feel very good.”

The event gave the participating Marines a sense of pride to be a part of it as well.

“I was definitely glad to be here,” said SSgt. William Genochio, a recruiter with RSS North Indianapolis. “With each passing year the number of members who served during the World War II era become less and less. I enjoy listening to the knowledge and pearls of wisdom they have to pass. It is my way of ensuring their legacy continues.”