Cookie's Tavern draws huge crowd to celebrate Marine Corps 244th birthday

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A huge crowd gathered in South Philadelphia to celebrate the United States Marine Corps 244th birthday Sunday.

"It's a big day, I wore my colors of the United States Marine Corps, I'm not a marine, I'm just a grateful American supporting the 244th birthday of the Marine Corps," said Jerry DiEleuterio, from Wilmington, Delaware.

Many Marines said they make it a yearly tradition to come out to Cookie's Tavern in South Philadelphia to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday on November 10.

They said they are especially thankful to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Birthday bash for Marine Corps in South Philadelphia: as seen on Action News Mornings, November 10, 2019

"Cookie was a great man, he owned this place for many years, his family carries on the tradition," said James Thorn, from Brick, New Jersey.

Thorn said he's been coming to Cookie's Tavern to celebrate for the past 21 years.

"Today's the biggest holiday for most Marines. For me it's my Christmas, birthday, Fourth of July, all rolled into one, because today we will have a few thousand Marines here to celebrate," said Thorn.

Many Marines were seen hugging each other. Vendors also lined 10th and West Oregon Avenue, giving people ways to get involved in organizations that support veterans, locally.

"A lot of comradery," said Christopher Imperato, one of the owners of Cookie's. "People who haven't seen each other in thirty, forty years, who fought in the war."

While the veterans have fought all over the world they said they find a lot of happiness and commonalities when they come to South Philly to celebrate together.

"It's pretty exciting, every time I come down here," said Michael Grieco, a WWII veteran.
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