On this day in 1775 (also known as the 8th day) in a small tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a committee of the Continental Congress drafted an historical resolution – one that would forever change the nature of warfare, tilting the tables in favor of the United States in virtually every conflict and war since.
There, in Tun Tavern – a fitting birth place – a committee of the Continental Congress drafted a resolution to create two battalions of Continental Marines. These two small contingents of warriors would eventually swell in ranks and number and acquire a well-deserved reputation as the fiercest, bravest, strongest fighters since the days of Caesar’s Roman Legions: the United States Marine Corps.
Virtually every military and government body in the world today will agree that the U.S. Marines are the finest fighting force ever created. Marines have fought in every climb and place from the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli – as the Marine Corps hymn historically attests – and from Iwo Jima to the deserts of Iraq and Kuwait. Since its inception, the Marine Corps has proudly and bravely carried our nation’s standard into virtually every conflict and humanitarian mission. The United States Marines have dutifully and courageously fought, bled and died on every battlefield our nation has known, suffering higher proportionate casualties than any other branch of service.
They fought with stalwart valor and dedication matched by no other force… and they continue to do so today. Over the years they have earned the respect – and fear – of our enemies, taking with them a great number of nicknames. Perhaps none is so fitting as Der Teufelshunden (incorrectly rendered as Teufel Hunden), a moniker the Germans bestowed in admiration upon unyielding Marines at the battle of Belleau Wood in WWI . While the story of the Devil Dog moniker is disputed and told in many different ways, it is nonetheless fitting of the tenacity and fighting ability of a Marine.
Marines take great pride in their readiness to fight our nation’s battles… which is perhaps why so many cannot help but smile at the old cliche heard so many times. “First to go, last to know.” These men and women vigilantly stand watch over our country today as they have for the past 234 years, ready and willing at a moment’s notice to come to our defense. Marines also have have the distinct honor of guarding the President and our nation’s embassies across the world. We are, indeed, the few and the proud.
There are a great multitude of interesting facts in the legacy of the Marine Corps… too many to ever list, and no list could ever do it justice. Suffice it to say, that the U.S. Marine Corps has altered the course of human history. And every American should be proud of their Marines. Just as I am proud that I am one.
So it is fitting, that on this day, the 10th of November that we celebrate the birth of my beloved Marine Corps… and this is how it came to pass:
In the beginning was the word, and the word was God. In the beginning was God and all else was darkness and void, and without form, so God created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun and the moon, and the stars, so that light might pierce the darkness.
The Earth, God divided between the land and the sea and these He filled with many assorted creatures.
And the dark, salty, slimy creatures that inhabited the murky depths of the oceans, God called sailors. And he dressed them accordingly. They had little trousers that looked like bells at the bottom. And their shirts had cute little flaps on them, and they wore funny looking hats. He gave them long sideburns and beards, nicknamed them “squids,” and banished them to a lifetime at sea, so normal folks would not have to associate with them. To further identify these unloved creatures, He called them “petty” and “commodore” instead of titles worthy of red-blooded men.
And the flaky creatures of the land, God called soldiers. And with a twinkle in His eye, and a sense of humor only He can have, God made their trousers too short and their covers too large. He also made their pocketsoversized , so that they may warm their hands. And to adorn their uniforms, God gave them badges in quantities only a dime store owner could appreciate. And he gave them emblems and crests and all sorts of shiny things that glittered, and devices that dangled. (When you are God you tend to get carried away.)
On the 6th day, God thought about creating some air creatures for which he designed a Greyhound bus driver’s uniform. He discarded this idea during the first week, and it was not until years later that some apostles resurrected this theme and established what we now know as the “wild blue yonder wonders.”
And on the 7th day, as you know, God rested. But on the 8th day (November 10, 1775 to us mere mortals), at 0530, God looked down upon Earth and was not happy. God was just not happy! So He thought about His labors, and in His divine wisdom, God created a divine creature. And this He called a Marine. And the Marines, who God created in His own image, were to be of the air, and of the land, and of the sea. And these He gave many wonderful uniforms. Some were green, and some were blue with red trim. And in the early days, some were even a beautiful tan. He gave them practical fighting uniforms, so they could wage war against the forces of Satan and the evil. He gave them service uniforms for their daily work and training. And He gave them evening and dress uniforms…..sharp and stylish, handsome things, so they may promenade with their ladies on Saturday night and impress the hell out of everybody. He also gave them sabers, so that people who were not sufficiently impressed could be dealt with accordingly.
And at the end of the 8th day, God looked down upon the Earth and saw that it was good. But was God happy? No! God was still not happy. Because in the course of his labors, He had forgotten one thing. He did not have a Marine uniform for himself. But He thought about it, and thought about it, and finally satisfied Himself in knowing that, well..not everybody can be a MARINE!!!
Having explained the origin of the Marine, it is only fitting that I also describe the nature of Marines.
We are 234 years of Romping, Stomping, Hell Raising Death, and Destruction – the finest fighting force the world has ever seen. We were born in a bomb crater. Our mother was an M16 and our father was the devil. If you are an enemy, each moment that we live is an additional threat to your life. We eat concertina, piss napalm, and can shoot a round through a flea’s ass at 300 meters. We are rougish looking, roving soldiers of the sea. We are cocky, self-centered, overbearing, and we do not fear, for we are Fear itself. We are green amphibious monsters made of blood and guts who arose from the sea – the dirty, nasty, stinky, sweaty, filthy, beautiful little sons of bitches whose sole purpose in life is to inflict death and destruction upon the enemies of America wherever they arise. And when our time comes, we’ll die glorious deaths on the battlefield giving our lives for mom, apple pie, and the American Flag.
We are United States Marines. We live like soldiers, talk like sailors, and slap the hell out of both of them. We stole the eagle from the Air Force, the rope from the Army, and the anchor from the Navy. And on the 7th day, when God rested, we overran his perimeter, stole the globe and we’ve been running the show ever since. Warrior by day, lover by night, drunkard by choice, Marine by God.
Semper Fidelis, Devil Dogs, and Happy Birthday. Oorah!