Where Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue
In a tavern in Philadelphia 233 years ago, the United States Marine Corps was born. Why a bar, you ask? Well, where the Hell else were you going to find the proper types to join the Colonies' first two battalions of Marines? Also, the first recruiting bonus was a beer (we came cheap in those days).
I've celebrated many Marine Corps Birthdays and I'm as proud of today as I was on my first during boot camp back on Parris Island (mainly because we got the day off and the drill instructors treated us almost like Marines). Marines, past and present, celebrate today as their birthday.
And while most of the Marines here in the United States have today off (and tomorrow for Veterans Day), there are others around the world celebrating the day in much rougher circumstances. Perhaps they're on patrol in Iraq, or on watch at a lonely outpost high in the mountains of Afghanistan or, like generations before them, aboard ships crossing the vastness of the seas.
No matter where they are the spirit of Gen. John A. Lejeune's 1921 Birthday Message will echo in their souls.
"On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date many thousands of men have borne that name Marine. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.Semper Fidelis!
The record of our Corps is one which bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argome, Marines have won foremost honors in war and in the long era of tranquility at home generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres, and in every corner of the seven seas so that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.
In every battle and skirmish since the Birth of the Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.
This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation and has long been the distinguishing mark of Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the me of our nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps."