WWII Marine Veteran Celebrated On 100th Birthday
by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher
February 24, 2023
On a cold evening at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an audience of more than 100 people listened to the tune of a harmonica playing “God Bless America.” Marine Veteran, Cpl. Roland Scarinci, played some of his favorite songs to the crowd there to honor him.
Scarinci celebrated his 100th birthday on February 18, 2023 with his family, friends and other guests gathered to celebrate his long life.
February 18, 2023 - WWII Marine Veteran, Cpl. Roland Scarinci proudly holds a letter of appreciation signed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger presented to him by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Len Anderson, commanding general of 4th Marine Aircraft Wingarinci, who is sitting next to him at his 100th birthday celebration at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 in Philadelphia, PA. Scarinci served the United States Marine Corps honorably during WWII from December 14, 1942, to February 19, 1946. Scarinci 100th birthday ceremony also honored his service to the Marine Corps and Nation during the war. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher.)
During this celebration, a ceremony was held by Marines with Marine Forces Reserve who presented Scarinci with a Letter of Appreciation signed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger, thanking him for his time and service to the Corps.
Scarinci enlisted in the Marine Corps on Dec. 14, 1942. He was stationed at Marine Barracks Washington 8th & I, and later deployed to the Pacific Theater with the 1st Marine Division, during which Scarinci engaged with the enemy for 81 of the 82-day-long Battle of Okinawa in April-May 1945. Later, from Sept. 30, 1945, to Jan. 14, 1946, he participated in actions during the occupation of China. Scarinci served the Marine Corps and nation honorably during WWII for four years and was discharged Feb. 19, 1946.
During the ceremony Maj. Gen. Len Anderson, commanding general of 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, gave remarks expressing his gratitude and awe for Scarinci’s service.
“This many years of dedicated and selfless service for our nation, to tell his story and what he did in the Marine Corps, I can’t thank you enough for the stories that you've told,” said Anderson “He didn't know that the time he spent in the Pacific was just a very small influence of what he had on the Marine Corps. Decades since, young men and women have joined our Corps, joined this small club we love to be a part of, served our nation and did it because Cpl. Scarinci keeps telling his stories.”
Others whom Scarinci impacted in his life spoke as well, including his daughter, his nursing staff and even Col. Patrick Callahan, New Jersey State Police superintendent.
Callahan retold the story of his and Scarinci’s first meeting at a coffee house. They shared the love of playing harmonica and became close friends. During the celebrations, they played “When the Saints Go Marching In” together. After they finished, Callahan wished to show his gratitude and respect to Scarinci.
“Because it will be completely appropriate and a complete breach of military protocol, corporals generally salute colonels, but not tonight,” said Callahan “It is my complete honor to salute Cpl. Scarinci!”
Then it was Scarinci’s turn to speak. His simple, yet beautiful message was love everyone and be grateful. He then thanked every member of his family and all his closest friends by name, including his late wife, Gloria. Every person who came up to him to wish him a happy birthday, Scarinci hugged, shook their hand and told them he loved them. He praised members of the military by saying, “You young men and women are the bravest and nicest of them all.”
February 18, 2023 - WWII Marine Veteran, Cpl. Roland Scarinci, speaks during his 100th birthday celebration at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 in Philadelphia, PA. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher.)
The party continued after Scarinci retired for the night. His last words to the crowd were short and simple, but it had a powerful impact on all who heard them, much like his life...
“Just seeing all you folks here, and loving all you folks, it was a true honor.”
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