At Casa del Weathers, steak is on the menu tonight, like it will be in every clime and place where Marines serve. Today, see, is a High Holy Day for Marines like me. On this day, in the Year of Our Lord, 1775, the Continental Congress agreed to form two battalions of Marines. The committee that decided this met at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, over beers of course, and the Continental Marines were born.
So those of us who have earned the title Marine, have two birthdays, the second of which “we few, we happy few,” celebrate today. I’m thankful that I am blessed to be a Marine, and I wish a hearty Happy Birthday to my fellow Marines here, and abroad.
Here is the resolution that brought the Marine Corps into existence on this day, 236 years ago.
Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required: that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress: that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered part of the number which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.*
Something else that will be shared at home tonight is the following,
For ten years now, our Corps has been engaged in continuous combat operations against those who threaten the security of America and our allies. We turned the tide in the Anbar province of Iraq and continue to see success today in southwest Afghanistan.While it has come at a cost… we have much to be proud of.This past year in operations around the world including humanitarian disaster relief, counter-piracy, theater security cooperation, special operations, counter-insurgency and many more, you continued to solidify our place as America’s Expeditionary Force in Readiness. Since the Continental Congress created two battalions of Marines 236 years ago, our legacy as an ever-ready, ever capable, victory producing organization remains intact.
Our rich heritage of selfless service and fidelity to Nation and to one another lives on in all who currently wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor – those who have answered the clarion call to duty with remarkable courage, dedication and unshakable resolve that Marines are so well known for. To all Marines – past and present – and especially to our families … I extend my deep gratitude for all you have done and all you continue to do.
As we celebrate our 236th birthday, let us look forward to future challenges –whatever they may be — and reaffirm our pledge to be America’s premier crisis response force; to be the first to fight… Always ready for the toughest and most challenging assignments.
Happy 236th Birthday, Marines!
James F. Amos
General, United States Marine Corps
And here is a prayer for all Marines, past and present:
The Marines’ Prayer
Let us not forget those who are not able to raise a glass with us, but toast them first and foremost in glory.
It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. (cf. CCC 2239).
*Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 10 November 1775, in William Bell Clark, editor, Naval Documents of the American Revolution, Vol. 2, p. 972 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1966)