Thursday, November 10, 2011

On 236 Years

In 1775 the United States Marine Corps was created inside a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania bar-- the Tun Tavern.

Every year the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday in the fashion fitting its origin. Marines across the world, regardless of where they're located, recognize today, November 10th, as their birthday. If you live anywhere near a Marine Base you will most likely hear people discussing the Marine Corps Ball-- for months prior to today, because it really is THAT BIG of a deal.

Marines will don their dress blue uniforms-- you know the ones you automatically think of when you hear the term Marine (yes, the one on all those Marine Corps commercial), take their dates and spend an evening celebrating with their Brother Marines.

I guarantee it's much fancier and classier than the original days of the Tun Tavern, but these celebrations don't stray far from their roots. There are speeches, and food, alcohol and laughter, but in my opinion one of the most important parts of the celebration is the table they have set up for their missing brothers.

No one sits at this table, but there is a place set regardless.

It is to remember all those Marines who didn't make it back, who aren't there to celebrate, and those who will never be forgotten.

So on this joyous day you'll hear Marines saying "Happy Birthday" to each other, because today is as important to them as the day they were brought into the world by their mothers. Today is the day the men and women celebrate the creation of the lives they have chosen for themselves.

Take a moment to celebrate with them. If you see a Marine, acknowledge today as his day, and thank him for all he and his brothers and sisters, both past and present, have done in the last two hundred and thirty-six years.

Happy Birthday, Marines.

Semper Fi.


The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! -- Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945 


  1. Below is an explanation of the table that Sarah mentioned briefly in the blog.  If you ever have a chance to witness the ceremony in person, it is a moving experience.  It always brings me chills.

    As you entered the dining area, you may have noticed a table at the
    front, raised to call your attention to its purpose -- it is reserved to honor
    our missing comrades in arms.


    Set for five, the empty places represent Americans still missing from each of the five services -- Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force,
    Coast Guard. This Honors Ceremony symbolizes that they are with
    us, here in spirit.


    Some here were very young when they were sent into combat; however, all
    Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation's
    call to serve and served the cause of freedom in a special way.


    This Table is small -- Symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone
    against his oppressors.


    The Tablecloth is white -- Symbolizing the purity of their intentions
    to respond to their country's call to arms.


    The single Red Rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and
    loved ones of our comrades-in-arms who keep the faith awaiting their return.


    The Red Ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red
    ribbon worn upon the lapel and breasts of thousands who bear witness to their
    unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of our missing.


    The Candle, the candle is lit -- Symbolizing the upward reach of their
    unconquerable spirit.


    A Slice of Lemon is on the bread plate to remind us of their bitter
    fate. Remember!


    There is Salt upon the bread plate -- Symbolic of the families tears as
    they wait.


    The Glass is inverted -- They cannot toast with us this night.


    The Chair -- The chair is empty. They are not here.


    All of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended
    upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely, they have not
    forsaken you.


    Remember. -- Until the day they come home, Remember.

  2. Thank you for sharing that with everyone. It's a tough subject that is close to my heart. Every time I see that table, my heart aches. 

    You might not be a Marine, but you're pretty close. So today, on their birthday, I want to thank you for keeping them healthy and safe. You might be Navy, but you're a Devil Dog by association.  :)