Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, USMC


Today is the date of birth of the United States Marine Corps. It’s not something that gets much attention in the broad press.

I first learned about it a few years ago, of all places, in front of the 21 Club in New York City. As I was walking by an employee was raising the distinctive Marine flag on one of their poles. He told me it was in honor of their birthday.

“On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved to raise two battalions of 'American Marines.' Congress commissioned 31 year old Samuel Nicholas, a well-known Philadelphian, as captain of the fledgling force of Continental Marines. Nicholas raised two battalions of Marines and so began the long, illustrious history of the United States Marine Corps.”

My father was a Marine. Not a career man. Too young for WWII, he enlisted after the war and put his time in for the GI bill. He was a communication specialist, and his “speaking” in the “dahs” and “dits” of Morse code was pretty cool when we were kids. In more ways than that, “once a Marine, always a Marine.”

From the Commandant's Annual Message:

ON OUR 233RD BIRTHDAY, FIRST REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND THOSE "ANGELS" WHO HAVE FALLEN - OUR REPUTATION WAS BUILT ON THEIR SACRIFICES. REMEMBER OUR FAMILIES; THEY ARE THE UNSUNG HEROES WHOSE SUPPORT AND DEDICATION ALLOW US TO ANSWER OUR NATION'S CALL.

FINALLY, TO ALL MARINES AND SAILORS, KNOW THAT I AM PROUD OF YOU AND WHAT YOU DO. YOUR SUCCESSES ON THE BATTLEFIELD HAVE ONLY ADDED TO OUR ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY. GENERAL VICTOR H. "BRUTE" KRULAK SAID IT BEST WHEN HE WROTE, "... THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT NEED A MARINE CORPS ... THE UNITED STATES WANTS A MARINE CORPS." YOUR ACTIONS, IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, AND ACROSS THE GLOBE, ARE AT THE CORE OF WHY AMERICA LOVES HER MARINES.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARINES AND SEMPER FIDELIS!
JAMES T. CONWAY,
GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS,
COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS//

Today’s 233 birthday reminds me that the Marines are out on the battlefield every day, following orders. For a moment today, wherever they are in the world, they will participate in some celebration of the foundering of the Corps. We can only pray that the new Commander-in-Chief will not waste a single one of their devoted lives.

2 comments:

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

To the best of my knowledge the in-house march of the USMC is a piece entitled 'Couplets des deux hommes d'armes' lifted from Offenbach's Geneviève de Brabant. The two gendarmes, Pitou and Grabuge, sing each line alternately:

Protéger le repos des villes,
Courir sus aux mauvais garçons,
Ne parler qu'à des imbéciles,
En voir de toutes les façons,
Un peu de calme après vous charme.
(C'est assez calme ici, sergeant!)
Ah! Qu'il est beau
D'être homme d'arme!
Mais que c'est un peu exigeant!

I don't know how you feel this encapsulates the US Marine experience.

M.A.Peel said...

I do not know of this in-house march. Well, it's a long way from "From the Halls of Montezuma"