Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Happy 229th Birthday

The United States Marine Corps was founded on 10 November 1775 at Tun Tavern, Philadelphia. Today marks 229 years of service to the Nation. Every year the Commandant sends a birthday message to the Corps. I was going to post this year's message from General Hagee, as it is well written and uplifting, but you know basically what it says, "Rah-rah-ree, hit 'em inna knee, rah-rah-rass, hit 'em inna otha knee," so I won't. You can read it at Leatherneck: Magazine Of The Marines if you wish. Instead here's the Birthday Message that started the tradition. It is as appropriate today as it was then.

General John A. Lejeune's Birthday Message (1921)

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the 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 our 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 to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the 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.

Today is also the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the "Iwo Jima Flag-Raising statue" located in Arlington National Cemetery. So that the men immortalized in the Memorial will not be forgotten, they are: PFC Ira H. Hayes USMC, PFC Franklin R. Sousley USMC, Sgt. Michael Strank USMC, PFC Rene A. Gagnon USMC, Cpl. Harlon H. Block USMC, and Pharmacist's Mate Second Class John H. Bradley USN. Hayes, Gagnon, and Bradley survived Iwo Jima. All have since passed away.

Semper Fidelis and Happy Birthday, Marines.

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