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The Battery Creek High School Marching Band performs during the Parris Island Centennial Parade in Port Royal Oct. 24. Veterans, service members and local residents attended to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jonah Lovy

Port Royal celebrates 100 years for Parris Island

28 Oct 2015 | Lance Cpl. Jonah Lovy Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

A parade in honor of the Parris Island Centennial Celebration was held in Port Royal, S.C. Oct. 24. Veterans, service members and local residents attended to show their pride on this momentous occasion.

The parade consisted of marching bands, reserve officer training corps from local schools, and vintage military vehicles provided by private owners.

Marines from the Tri-command attended to show their support for Parris Island and the surrounding community.

“It’s quite the turn out today,” said Jim Andrews, a retired Marine living in Port Royal. “This kind of event is exactly why so many retired guys like me live in the area.”

On-lookers carrying Marine posters and flags lined the streets as the parade headed downtown. The day ended with a screening of the documentary "Parris Island: 100 Years of Making Marines" aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

            “There’s nothing like the community we have here in Port Royal,” said Col. Neal Pugliese, director of Operations at MCRD. “People here love the military and we do what we can to give back to them.”

Both the parade and the documentary are among the numerous celebrations and events that have occurred throughout the area commemorating the depot's 100th year of training Marines.

“America couldn’t ask for a better place to train Marines,” said Andrews, who graduated from Parris Island in 1966.

For years, he has watched young recruits, like him and those before him, enter the depot as hopeful recruits and come out as Marines.

“The training that those recruits go through is outstanding,” said Andrews. “It’s completely different from when I was there, but it makes this generation of Marines stronger.”

The depot was transferred from the Navy to the Marine Corps Nov. 1, 1915. It was previously called Marine Barracks, Port Royal, and later as Marine Barracks, Parris Island, before becoming Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in 1919.

“The centennial is a time for both celebration and reflection,” said Pugliese. “[the depot] has come a long way in 100 years and we can’t forget about our past.”

The parade follows a ceremony aboard Parris Island, Oct. 16, which was attended by the general public along with Gen. Robert B. Neller, the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

"We couldn't have done [this parade] without the community,” said Pugliese. "It's really the model for the rest of the nation for how our community partners and the Marine Corps should operate."

“It makes me proud to live here and to have served,” said Andrews. “There is so much pride and patriotism in this town.”