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REUNION 2017 - 25th Annual Reunion!!!

20 April 2017 Update: 

This year’s reunion is special and we are doing everything possible to make it the best ever.  We already have some excellent things in store and are working on some others.  Details can be found in the following paragraphs, including reservation and dinner information, a rough agenda for the weekend, features we have confirmed, and more.  Hope to see a huge turnout in November!!!

We once again have an outstanding contract and working relationship with the Residence Inn by Marriott at Rosslyn in Arlington, VA.  Address is 1651 North Oak Street, Arlington, VA, about a 15 minute walk to the Iwo Jima War Memorial and within walking distance of a large number of shops and restaurants in Arlington.  The Residence Inn has outdone themselves with a room rate for either Studio or One Bedroom suites of $125 plus tax for our reunion covering 8-12 November.  That compares to their normal rates of more than $250 per night.  We have also negotiated a parking rate reduction at the hotel to $10 per night, compared to $16 per night in past years.  We will have their first floor conference room reserved exclusively for us all day as our hospitality room.  The Network will provide free snacks, water, soft drinks and beer. 

 

Hotel Reservations

 

Call:  The official title for our reunion, to be used when making reservations, is “2/9 Marine DC Reunion”.  You MUST use that title when making your reservations to get our special room rate.  Call the hotel for reservations at 1-800-331-3131.  Make sure you get a confirmation number AND that they have your name spelled correctly.  Misspelled names have caused some issues in past years. 

 

Online - Go to this website (URL):  http://cwp.marriott.com/wasrr/twoninemarines   

Fill out all the necessary information on the left hand side of the screen and follow the on-screen instructions.  Once completed make sure you record your confirmation number!

 

We have 75 rooms reserved and they will go very quickly, so make your reservations RIGHT NOW!  The hotel has coordinated well with us in other years to expand the number of rooms if necessary (and I’m sure it will be), but there is NO guarantee there will be more open rooms available.  If you attempt to make a reservation and they tell you there are none left contact me immediately via email – ditson35@verizon.net.  We cannot get more rooms if we do not know the original 75 are sold out.  The sooner I know the better the chances of expanding our room number.  Reservations must be made prior to 13 October.  After that date remaining rooms will be released into general sale and there will be no guarantee you can get our special room rate.  Your room rate also includes a buffet breakfast every morning.   We will also be selling our raffle and 50/50 tickets in the room and offering 2/9 shirts/covers, etc. for sale to support reunion expenses.  I’d also like to ask that folks consider donating raffle items for the reunion.  The raffle is the primary fund-raiser at our reunions and really helps offset the costs.  Reunion expenses run over $10,000. 

Reunion Dinner

For the third consecutive year our Birthday Dinner will be on November 10th, at the Marriott Key Bridge Hotel in Arlington, VA.  One critical point I need to make before providing any more details is that the price of our dinner is all inclusive.  That means we are paying for the ballroom (normal rental runs in the thousands of dollars), AV equipment, self-parking in the hotel garage, the dinner (salad, entrée, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage), and all taxes and service charges for the price of the dinner, $33.00 per person.  We will have a cash bar set up for alcoholic beverages for those who choose to partake.  We are currently scheduled in the Potomac Room but if their Capitol View Ballroom is not rented within seven days of our dinner we will be moved there.  Both are exceptional ballrooms.  Seating will be tables of 10.  We cannot reserve seating for you so if you have a group of people who want to sit together get there early to claim a table.  Unfortunately, there can be no substitutions to the menu we have contracted for.  That is understandable considering the outstanding deal they have given us.  Here is the menu for the evening:

Salad – Choice of Key Bridge Signature Salad (mixed field greens, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, balsamic vinaigrette), or Key Bridge Ceasar Salad (romaine, parmesan, croutons, Ceasar dressing).

Entrée – Pan Roasted Breast of Chicken with chef’s choice of starch and vegetable.

Dessert – Chef’s choice of plated dessert (not to be cake)

Beverages – Assorted soft drinks, sparkling and still water, and coffee

You must pay me for the dinner in advance.  Make out a check or money order to me, Danny Schuster, and send it to me at 21 Moseley Street, Billerica, MA 01821.  I MUST have your check/money order in hand at the latest by 01 November.  I will be enroute to the reunion after that date and will have no record of receiving payment.  Please, do NOT mail it on or after that date or you will not be able to attend the dinner.  I must have it by the 1st.  There is a simple reason for this requirement.  Two years ago we depended upon people to pay for the dinner at the reunion.  22 people did not pay or show up for the dinner and we took a $600 hit since the dinners must be paid in advance.  We cannot afford that type of financial hit. 

We have the ballroom reserved from 1800-2300 on The Birthday, November 10th.  Besides the dinner we will have exceptional guest speakers, our unique “Hot Damn” toast (you have to experience it to believe it), our official Cake Cutting Ceremony, and our drawing for the raffle and 50/50 contest.  We have confirmed with the Director of Outreach for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Mr. Tim Tetz, that we will have a speaker from their Outreach department speak to us on topics including their need for photos of men on The Wall, the Reading of the Names (see below), the need for and plans for their Education Center, and the In Memory Program to honor those NOT on The Wall but who passed from injuries or exposure to Agent Orange after their return from Vietnam.  I am still working on a second guest speaker.  If I am successful in my current efforts we will be honored with a VERY special guest.  We’ll have to wait and see on that.  Shortly after dinner we will be making our annual pilgrimage to The Wall to honor and say hello to our brothers and lay a wreath in their memory.  Details for that will be available in the hospitality room at the Residence Inn. 

35th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Memorial (The Wall)

This year is the 35th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Memorial.  As occurs on every fifth year this year men and women will be reading all the names on The Wall.  If anyone wants to participate in reading the names, including the possibility of timing it so you can read the names of men you served with, that is possible right now!  Tim Tetz has provided the link to sign up to read names (most read around 25 names if I remember correctly).  You can request a specific time frame and even a specific name to read, although there is no absolute guarantee.  Go to this link:  www.vvmf.org/rotn, fill out the form, and submit it.  Tim has made it very clear that positions fill up very fast so get it done if you are interested.  All communication for the Reading of the Names from the VVMF is done via email.

Marine Corps Birthday Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Iwo Jima War Memorial

As 2/9 has done every year for 24 years we will be attending the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Iwo Jima Memorial the morning of 10 November.  We leave the hotel between 0900-0945 for the ceremonies that begin at 1000.  Seating for those that require it is usually available but many of us stand.  We do this rain or shine, so make sure you check the weather forecast before heading to the reunion so you have outerwear as necessary. 

Veteran’s Day, November 11th

Thanks to the efforts of our own Larry Noon and Mr. Tim Tetz, this year 2/9 will have reserved seating available at the Veteran’s Day ceremonies held annually at the Vietnam Wall on the 11th.  However, Tim must know how many seats will be required.   If you are coming to the reunion you must notify me that you want to attend the Veteran’s Day ceremonies and tell me how many seats you will need.  Tim has asked that we give him an initial estimate shortly after Memorial Day so they can properly plan in advance.  Our numbers can be increased after that date, but if you want to attend the ceremonies and sit in the reserved seating section email me (ditson35@verizon.net), not later than 20 June 2017 with the number of seats you need.  I will be sending Tim a number on 6 June 2017.  If I receive additional requests after that date I will forward them to Tim but there will be no guarantee seats will still be available.  I do not know what the central theme for the ceremonies will be this year but can envision some emphasis on The Wall’s 35th Anniversary. 

 

Reunion Agenda (Tentative!)

8-9 November:  Free Time (hospitality room open after 1200 hours on 8 November

10 November:   1000 - Marine Corps Birthday War Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony

                       1800-2300 – Marine Corps Birthday Dinner at Marriott Key Bridge

                       2300 (approximate)  2/9 Wreath Laying at The Wall

11 November:   1300 – Veteran’s Day Ceremonies at The Wall (reserved seating)

All other time is free time and the hospitality room will be open all day each day.

Transportation provided for Iwo Jima ceremony, Birthday Dinner, and trip to The Wall              

 

Note for Our “Young” 2/9 Marines (post Vietnam)

Every year we Vietnam Vets of 2/9 receive the sad news that more of our brothers have passed on.  I receive several notices every year from a son or daughter, wife, or brother/sister, that their family member has passed on and “always wanted to attend a reunion”.  They never made it because they kept putting it off.  Please think seriously about attending this year’s reunion.  As you grow older you are going to realize more and more how much you want to see Marines you served with.  Too many times people wait too long.  Think about it and consider Arlington in November if you possibly can.  I understand family and work responsibilities at a younger age but time waits for no one.  I guess I’m now officially an old man at 70 and cannot continue with this job forever.  If 2/9’s legacy is going to continue into the future it isn’t a hell of a lot longer that you men and women who served more recently get actively involved in OUR Network.  You would be welcomed with open arms. 

Danny