UPDATE 13 OCTOBER 2020 REUNION CANCELLATION

Marines, Families and Friends of the 2/9 Network,

    After several conversations over the summer and early fall between Henry Ostaszewski and I, we have come to a final conclusion.  We have very reluctantly decided we must cancel the reunion scheduled next month in Arlington, VA.  We discussed many issues leading up to this decision.  Danger from the Chinese Virus was chief among them.  Other issues included the state of Virginia imposed restrictions on hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Internally at the hotel we would need to maintain social distancing everywhere we moved, including in the hospitality room, restaurant area, and other public areas of the hotel.  Masks would have been required in the lobby, on elevators, in hallways leading to rooms, etc.   Snack and beverage inclusion for attendees would have had to have been strictly controlled and possibly even eliminated.  To have a Marine Corps Birthday dinner of any type would have been extremely difficult, at best.   Visiting many of the historic sites or tourist attractions in the D.C. area would have been a huge question mark since many are not open to the public.  There is also the possibility of public unrest, especially in the District of Columbia, following the national elections on 03 November.

    All of the items listed above led to our decision to cancel but the virus itself was the main reason.  All personal feelings or beliefs aside we decided it was not a good thing to put people at risk.  Officials have consistently maintained that this thing has a highly contagious attribute.  While I know there are questions within our 2/9 Network family about the viability of those reports Henry and I made this decision with everyone's safety in mind.  We could have addressed at least some of the issues listed in the first paragraph above.  However, if just one of any attendees was put in jeopardy or at risk because someone brings in the virus we would have never been able to forgive ourselves.  That risk is too great to go forward.  We waited until what is almost the last minute hoping things would improve and we could enjoy freedom to associate, move around, and enjoy each other's company in gatherings in a safe manner.  Those are things we could not do or would be severely hampered in doing by rules imposed due to the virus.

     We pledge that we will begin planning next year's reunion ASAP and make it the biggest and best one ever, but this year we have to put the reunion to rest.

Semper Fidelis,

Danny Schuster

2/9 Network Administrator and Reunion Coordinator

Echo, 1967

PS  If you have a room reservation it is each person's responsibility to call the hotel to cancel.  Call the hotel at 1-703-812-8400, give them your confirmation number and, if necessary, tell them you are with the 2/9 Reunion Group.  It looks like you cannot cancel online since we have a group reservation. I have informed the hotel of this decision but have not received feedback from them at this point.

Danny 

 

UPDATE 19 AUGUST 2020

We now have a unique reservation page for our annual reunion to be held 07-14 November.  Most of our folks are in town from 08-12 November and those dates are fine to use when you book.  Here is the link to the page:  Book your group rate for 2/9 Marine DC Reunion

You can also call the phone number I provided in my last email -1-800-331-3131.  Make sure you do two things:  1- Tell the reservation people you are with the 2/9 Marine DC Reunion Group in order to get the reduced room rate and 2 – get a confirmation number for your reservation.                                     

Rates are $135/night plus tax and parking is $12 per night - quite a bit less expensive than the normal parking charge.  Don't forget we'll have the 1st floor conference room reserved for the entire reunion with free beverages and snacks.  I have also received word from the Scheduler for the Commandant of the Marine Corps that the Birthday Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial), is scheduled for 10:00 hours on Tuesday 10 November. 

Our Birthday Dinner is still up in the air as the hotel situation with the Key Bridge Marriott is as yet unresolved.  I'll get the dinner information out as soon as possible once any arrangements are finalized.

Semper Fi,

Danny

Originally sent out as an email to all those on the 2/9 Network email distributiion listings:

Hello 2/9 Network Members,

     Our 2020 2/9 Reunion is a go!  This will be our 28th Annual Reunion.  I apologize for this late notification but with all that has been going on it has been very difficult to make final arrangements with the hotel.   We now have a final contract in place and room reservation information is set out later in this note.  I want everyone to know that we have not considered cancelling our reunion for one moment.  Obviously there could be hurdles as we approach November and if the situation ultimately forces us to do something we do not want to do you will be notified ASAP.  As of now we will hold the reunion as normal from 08-12 November.  We will once again be staying at the Marriott Residence Inn Rosslyn, in Arlington, VA. 

Unfortunately our Birthday Dinner on 10 November is still a question mark.  The Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington has been closed due to the China virus and our negotiator extraordinaire, Debbie Crist, has not been able to contact anyone about the dinner contract.  She has, however, indicated that the prospects of our getting the same type contract we have had for several years now are good once they are allowed to reopen.  If not, Henry Ostaszewski and I have already discussed alternative locations we will explore if necessary.  We are determined one way or another to have our Marine Corps Birthday Dinner! 

The final negotiations with the Residence Inn are completed but the contract has not been signed by the hotel simply due to the Memorial Day Holiday weekend.  It will be finalized Monday or Tuesday.  Please do not call the number below for reunion hotel reservations until at least 01 June.  That way we’ll be sure the reservation system has been updated and rooms won’t be an issue after that date.  Ultimately we expect to have a unique web page where folks can go to make reservations.  I will send a separate email with the link to that web page when available. 

I know many of you, like all of us, are very concerned about this virus.  That was taken into account when Debbie negotiated the contract with the Residence Inn.  As they have been since we moved the reunion there years ago, they have been exceptionally responsive to our needs and concerns.  Normally our contract guarantees at least 70 rooms.  We usually end up with 90-100 rooms booked.  This year we have negotiated for 50 rooms to start.  There are no penalties involved in the contact.  Henry and I have reached out to several people who routinely attend our reunion and all but 2-3 are planning on attending.  One of our larger family contingents has already booked their airline flights.  I’d like to ask a big favor here.  We have to let the hotel know as soon as we can if we need more rooms.  In order to try to get an initial estimate I’d really appreciate a note if you are planning to attend.  Please send a note to me at twoninencoic@aol.com  telling me if you will attend and how many hotel rooms your party will need.    This is important and will only take you a few moments.  If the response is good it will go a long way in helping our planning.  There is no charge to cancel a reservation if it is done within 72 hours of your reservation date.  Help me out here folks!

Room rates are $135/night with a room tax around 13.5% not included.  Parking in the hotel garage is $12/night.  Your room must be reserved no later than 09 October to receive our reduced rate.  After that date the hotel has the right to charge the going rate (normally over $250/night).  The rate also includes a buffet breakfast every morning.  As always we have the first floor conference room reserved as our hospitality room where there will be free snacks, water, soft drinks and beer available.  Other than your room and parking there is no charge for the reunion.  Reservations can be made after 01 June 2020, by calling 1-800-331-3131.  Make sure you do two things:  1- Tell the reservation people you are with the 2/9 Marine DC Reunion Group in order to get the reduced room rate and 2 – get a confirmation number for your reservation.                                     

Once we know what is going on with the Birthday Dinner I’ll let you know if there is a charge for that or not.  For several years now I have been slowly trying to build a “slush” fund amount from your donations in case we ever ran into difficulties with the 2/9 Network.  I wish it were not true, but this virus certainly qualifies as a difficulty for us.  I know many are probably hurting as a result of the current state of our economy, especially our younger 2/9 Network members.  I fully expect a decline in donations and certainly understand that.  My plan is to go to the slush fund for as much cash as we need to run a complete reunion with our Birthday Dinner included in the agenda on 10 November.  I don’t know If we’ll have enough to pay for a dinner but will take a very hard look.  If we can do that and it nearly empties our bank account, so be it.  I’ll worry about it next year. 

This entire email will be posted on our website at www.2ndbattalion9thmarines.org under the 2020 Reunion Info button on the left side of the home page in case you lose the email.  I’ll also be posting updates there as more news comes in regarding the reunion and dinner.

I apologize for this not being part of a Battalion Runner Newsletter but I’ve been in the great state of Alabama since 01 February and have limited technical resources with me here.  Nancy and I are heading home Wednesday the 27th and hope to be home by 29 May. 

Here’s hoping you are safe and well!!!

Semper Fidelis,

Danny Schuster

2/9 Network Administrator and Reunion Coordinator

Echo, 1967

21 Moseley Street

Billerica, MA 01821

978-302-4126 (cell) or 978-667-4762 (land line)