Saluting the Few, the Proud, the Marines on This Their 235th Birthday

They are the oldest military branch in American history. They are the first to enter into a military situation and defend our country and its constitution along with being the President’s guards. They are held to the highest standards of ethics and morality, their name alone evoking respect, courage and commitment. After taking their oath, they enter a brotherhood that is a forever bond exemplified by the motto “Semper Fidelis” and their souls are said to guard the gates of heaven with St. Peter. They are the few, the proud, the Marines, and I am proud to be able to call one of them Dad and another Grandpa.  And today, November 10, 2010, marks their 235th birthday.

Marine Corps Seal

On November 10, 1775, a committee of the Continental Congress approved a resolution forming what was then known as the Continental Marines.  The Marine Corps site explains that “each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines.”

Marine Corps Birthday

This is my Dad while serving in the Marines in Vietnam, 1970. He served from 1969 to 1973 and achieved the rank of Sergeant.

Marine Corps Birthday

This is my Grandpa after recovering in Hawaii from an injury received at the Battle of Peleliu, 1945.

My Dad is a Marine who served from 1969 to 1973, one year of which was served in Vietnam.  Even though he’s outgrown his uniform, he wears anything that says MARINE on it with special pride, as his father did for years after his service.  My Grandpa was a Marine who served from 1942 to 1946 during World War II and is currently one of the many guarding the gates of heaven.

Marines are truly a special breed of soldier.  It is said that Marines are not made, but born.  When asked by a family member whether or not he should go into the Marine Corps, my Grandpa answered “if you need to ask, you have your answer.”

My Dad told no one…and I mean NO ONE…that he was enlisting in the Marines.  He told me that he missed only two days of high school: one day to enlist in the Marine Corps, and another day for his physical.  My Grandpa would tell the story that he woke up one morning and my Grandma started yelling at him, “Do you know what stupid thing your son did last night?”  My Grandpa responded, “well, if it’s my son, he probably joined the Marine Corps.”  Expletives ensued and they then had to convince her that he really made this decision on his own.

I may not have served our country or been a Marine, but I am certainly incredibly proud of both my Dad and Grandpa and their service.

Whether in active service or civilian life, Marines continue to have that same dedication and drive they had when they first enlisted. Every year, they work with their Toys for Tots campaign to bring gifts to needy children with a message of hope.  One of my favorite Marine quotes is from Ronald Reagan: “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.” And if you know a Marine, you know exactly how true that statement is.

So this November 10th, make a Marine smile and simply tell them Happy Birthday and Thank You.

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