Happy Birthday, Marines

Go to any Marine post early in the morning, and you’re likely to hear the sound of boots thumping in unison against the pavement, and the voices of Marines calling cadence as they run in formation. Some of them are probably injured. There’s a good chance some of them are running off a hangover, but they’re out there anyway, covering down and in step, double-timing it with the rest of their squad. Listen, and you can hear the cadence echo off the buildings:

Back in seventeen seventy five

My Marine Corps came alive

First there was the color red

to show the world the blood we shed

Today, November 10, is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. for 240 years, the Marines have set the standard for military service.  From New Providence to the mountains of Afghanistan, wherever their country needs them, the Marines have answered the call. Each year, the Marines celebrate the birthday of their beloved Corps with a formal dinner and dance. They honor the youngest and oldest marine present, and read the birthday message written by General John A Lejeune, 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps:

“(1) 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.

(2) 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 eras 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.

(3) 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.

(4) 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 to 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 men 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 was fortunate enough to spend some time in the company of Marines, and I know I am a better man for it. I was a peacetime Marine, but if I had been called upon to go to war, I would have gone in knowing that my fellow Marines would be there to watch my back, and I theirs. That To all the Marines in the Redstate community, happy birthday, and Semper Fidelis.