On a weekend of America’s national holiday honoring its military veterans, Cookie’s Tavern in South Philadelphia provided a special thanks by hosting its annual Marine Corps’ birthday party.
Marines from all over the country and hundreds of people from the area sprawled across 10th Street and Oregon Avenue outside of Cookie’s to celebrate the Marine Corps’ 237th birthday on Saturday. The corps was founded in Philadelphia on Nov. 10, 1775.
The celebration tradition at Cookie’s started in the mid-70s when James “Daddy Wags” Wagner, a Marine Corps veteran, bought the tavern and wanted to show his appreciation.
Wagner died in 2002, but his daughter, Marion, continued the tradition that many consider as legendary in South Philly as the Mummers parade.
Anthony Turchi, 25, lives less than a block from Cookie’s Tavern and has been going to the celebration since he was a kid.
“This year I worked the beer tub outside the bar. I just love getting to talk to Marines of all ages and see how happy they are to be appreciated,” Turchi said.
While live entertainment carried the party until the early morning, the message behind the celebration wasn’t lost.
“It was so heart warming to see the amount of people who came out to support our veterans and those who are serving now,” Tina Pierandozzi said.
A college student at Neumann University, Pierandozzi said, “I have nothing but the utmost respect for those brave men and women. I wish it was more than just once a year to celebrate their bravery.”