Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Happy 235th Marine Corps Birthday!
On this most august of days, 10 November, I want to wish my fellow Marines – past and present – a very happy Marine Corps birthday.
No matter where in the world they are – at home, aboard ship or deployed overseas – Marines will hear Gen. John A. Lejeune's Birthday Message. These are the same words every Marine has heard on this day since 1921, and the spirit of General Lejeune’s message is one of the things that bind us together as Marines.
General Lejeune’s Birthday Message of Nov. 10, 1921:
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.
The record of our Corps is one which will 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 Argonne, 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.
I make my living with words and one thing I was just thinking of was the sentence, “…until the term ‘Marine’ has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.” As a former Marine, I like that it is a proper noun, unlike soldier, sailor or airman. The truth is, soldiers and sailors come from many countries, and many countries have marine corps – our is, in fact, descended from the Royal Marines. But if someone says they’re a Marine you can almost hear the verbal capitalization, and you know exactly where they’re from.
Following tradition, here is this year’s Birthday Message from the new Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos:
Sixty years ago, the United States Marine Corps—as it has throughout our history—demonstrated its vital role as America’s Expeditionary Force in Readiness. Just weeks after North Korean Communist forces crossed the 38th Parallel, the First Marine Provisional Brigade landed in South Korea, forming the backbone of the perimeter around the city of Pusan. The efforts of the “Fire Brigade” at Pusan allowed for the daring amphibious landing at Inchon and set the stage for one of the most savage campaigns in our Corps’ history—the Chosin Reservoir. As we pause to celebrate our 235th Birthday, we pay special tribute to the Marines of the Korean War and recognize their contributions to our enduring legacy.
This past year marked the end of Marine Corps combat operations in Iraq. Beginning with the invasion in March 2003 and through the next seven years of fighting, our Corps acquitted itself valiantly in the Anbar province and throughout the country. Locations such as Fallujah and Ramadi have taken their place in the illustrious battle history of our Corps. Our efforts in defeating the insurgency helped to build a brighter future for all Iraqis.
For 235 years, at sea and ashore, Marines have succeeded in every clime and place . . . where hardship and adversity have often been the common thread. Today, in the rugged mountains and valleys of Afghanistan—and recently in earthquake-damaged Haiti . . . in flood-ravaged Pakistan . . . or off the coast of Africa—we continue to protect our Nation, just as we did 60 years ago in Korea.
To the Marines and Sailors deployed overseas, to those training and preparing for their next deployment and to the warriors who no longer wear our uniform . . . we honor your selfless service to the Nation. To our loved ones who endure the many difficulties that come with being part of the Marine Family, I want to extend my sincerest thanks for all you have done and all you continue to do.
Happy 235th Birthday, Marines!
James F. Amos
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Not much I can add after all that. But if you know a Marine or run across someone sporting an eagle, globe and anchor today, wish them a happy birthday and watch their face light up.