View Full Version : The Commandant of the Marine Corps' 2002 Birthday Message

10-26-02, 10:25 AM
We all know that a powerful combination of teamwork and individual achievement forms the strength of our Corps. We are Marines, first and foremost. Through innovation, trust, and mutual respect, we have evolved into an adaptive and flexible fighting force ideally suited for 21st Century challenges. Though the character of war continually changes, we understand that the nature of war is timeless: that the ultimate arbiter of battle is the human will. We recognize this, and we embrace the values that strengthen our will and define our character. For 227 years, Marines and their families have dedicated themselves to the cause of the defense of freedom. Our accomplishments adorn the masthead of the Battle Color of the Marine Corps for all to admire, and they reflect the importance of the legacy we inherit and willingly accept.

Through shared experience and success in battle, we distinguish ourselves by selfless service—in a sense, we are a fraternity of sacrifice. As stewards of our rich heritage, we continually reflect upon the generations of Marines who, in their time, faithfully answered our country's call. In their example we will find the strength and inspiration necessary to meet the coming challenges. We celebrate this connection with our history, yet we remain focused on the challenges of our future. We have an important dual responsibility: to remain ready for today, while transforming our capabilities to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

We find profoundly gratifying our lifelong pride of association with fellow Marines—active, Reserve, veteran, and civilian—and the knowledge that we contribute daily to securing our Nation's freedom.

I encourage all Marines to celebrate the camaraderie, enrichment, and fulfillment of service with men and women subordinated to a greater cause: preparing for an exciting future and extending the legacy of our great Corps.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

Semper Fidelis,
James L. Jones
General, U.S. Marine Corps

General John A. Lejeune's Birthday Message (1921)

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence, the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war and in the long era of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas [so] that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish, Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.