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Nearly 2,000 Marines and supporters gathered to celebrate the 244th birthday of the US Marine Corps in an emotional event that honored veteran Marines and welcomed new ones, the organizer of the event said.

The Marine Corps birthday luncheon is held every year on Nov. 10, said Tom Lyons, the founder and chairman of the Semper Fidelis Society of Boston. The Semper Fidelis Society organizes Boston’s celebration, which was held this year in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in South Boston.

“I think for Marines, it’s all about tradition,” Lyons said. “It’s all about taking the time to celebrate the Marines’ birthday. Anytime you put 2,000 Marines and former Marines into a room, you’re going to get a lot of emotion.”

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During the luncheon, 20 recruits were sworn into the Marine Corps, and Gold Star families and Medal of Honor recipients were recognized, Lyons said.

Lyons said this year was special because Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday, and Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer attended the event.

The annual Ted Williams Award, named for the Red Sox legend and former Marine, was presented to Doug Flutie for his work raising money for families affected by autism. Flutie was a quarterback who played for the New England Patriots from 1987 to 1989, and again in 2005 as backup quarterback before announcing his retirement, according to the Patriots’ website.

“To me, that was the highlight. Doug was very moved to receive the award,” Lyons said. “The award goes to an individual who, at the top of their game, gives back to others.”


Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99.