Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Marines!

On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the raising of two battalions of Marines. Philadelphia’s Tun Tavern—yes, a beer-serving establishment as its name suggests—was the very first recruiting location of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Thus, young men were recruited with the promise of a cold beer and an opportunity to serve in a Corps of Marines. I can only imagine the excitement those young men felt at being able to attach themselves to something with equal parts of mystery, glamour, and danger. I can only imagine the yarns that followed in Tun Tavern after they had stepped forward and signed on. I can only imagine the stories that were later told in Tun Tavern after those initial recruits had served during the Revolution and returned home to tell about it. Tavern tales have become as much a Marine tradition as the eagle, globe, and anchor symbol. Not so unexpectedly, Marines have always prided themselves on the fact that their branch of service was birthed in a tavern.

And why not?

The thread of history from Tun Tavern to Afghanistan shows that Marines have served America extraordinarily well, with dedication, professional competence, and unsurpassed valor. The Marine Corps has always stood at the cutting edge of military readiness—prepared at any moment to move into harm’s way. And, as is their habit once they find themselves committed to action, they have fought and won. An adversary on the verge of a fiery encounter with U.S. Marines would hardly be in a festive mood, and for good reason. No better friend, no worse enemy.

As is the custom on 10 November, Marines will gather far and wide to celebrate the birthday of their Corps. The larger Marine Corps bases will have well-planned, well-attended, formal birthday balls. The smaller outposts will improvise, a key Marine skill. Former Marines will take a moment to reflect back on their years of service, most likely with pride and nostalgia. The history of the Corps will be commemorated; old friendships will be renewed; the fallen will be remembered. Prayers will be lifted for those still in the fight, and for the families who anxiously await their return.

Here’s to the Corps on this 235th birthday!

And here’s to the Marines whose duty and blood and sacrifice have saturated the Corps in hard-won glory.

Here’s to an organization that is not only unique, not only elite, but without equal.

Here’s to the United States Marine Corps!

Semper Fidelis.

No comments:

Post a Comment