Just ahead of the 102nd observance of Veterans Day, the U.S. Marine Corps is celebrating its 246th birthday.
The Corps released a five-minute film featuring Commandant Gen. David H. Berger’s birthday message honoring the Corps, and giving a nod to those who joined the Corps after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, saying, “that day changed everything,” just as the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“As Marine brothers and sisters, Semper Fidelis is a pledge that we promise to live by,” Berger said.
The video shows footage the attack on the World Trade Center towers, then additional footage of battles in Afghanistan and Iraq where Marines joined forces, displaying their heroics in the name of freedom.
“The hard-won lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan and the blood Marines have shed there will not soon be forgotten,” Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black said in the video. “We’re using the lessons of our past combined with the weapons of the future to reimagine our warfighting abilities.”
Berger also released a letter commemorating the Corps’ birthday. He pointed to what he called the Marines’ “most important traditions … courage, trust, discipline, loyalty, respect, perseverance, adaptability, and leadership,” adding, “Today, 246 years since our warfighting legacy began, we celebrate those traits that have been forged in all Marines – past and present.”
Another video released by the Corps shows a formal ceremony taking place to commemorate the branch’s birthday. A traditional cake-cutting ceremony took place, in which a piece of cake was passed to the oldest member in attendance to the youngest Marine in attendance to symbolize the passing of traditions.
The U.S. Navy also recognized the Marine Corps birthday, with a message from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday.
“On behalf of every sailor in the fleet, we celebrate alongside you today. For the last two centuries, we have stood the watch together as teammates and have worked tirelessly to keep America safe at both home and abroad. No doubt, the strength of our service is our people, and we take great pride in the legacy built by those that came before us,” Gilday said.
For two and a half centuries, the Marine Corps has played a vital role in protecting America both in the homeland and abroad, where it fought in every major war.
The branch’s creation stems from a resolution by John Adams to establish “two Battalions of Marines” in preparation for the American Revolution. The resolution was adopted on Nov. 10, 1775 — eight months before the Declaration of Independence was signed, thus sparking annual celebrations on the date of its formation.