Celebrating the Marine Corps Birthday

The Marine Corps birthday has been celebrated each year since General Lejeune himself instituted the tradition in 1921. On 10 November, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved, “That two Battalions of Marines be raised….” Marines all over the world celebrate the birthday with a ball (as able), cake, and the reading of General Lejeune’s message:

HEADQUARTERS U.S. MARINE CORPS
Washington, November 1, 1921

   (1) On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by  a resolution of 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.

   (2) 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 eras 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, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

   (3) 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.

   (4) 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 have 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.

JOHN A. LEJEUNE,
Major General Commandant

Other traditional components of the celebration have been added over the years, like the viewing of the current Commandant’s birthday video message. Generally the commanding officer cuts the birthday cake and presents the first and second pieces of cake to the oldest and youngest Marines present. Chow halls serve steak and lobster. Even at OCS!  The Marine Corps birthday is a proud tradition and a very important day to all Marines and their families.

Hopefully all you candidates can enjoy one for yourselves in days to come.

Semper Fi

Marines in Afghanistan
U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7), unload a box with birthday cakes and ice cream off of a CH53E Helicopter for the Marines of Fox Company aboard Now Zad on the Marine Corps Birthday in Afghanistan on November 10, 2008. 2nd Battalion 7th Marines, based out of Marine Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, is a reinforced light infantry Battalion deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Corporal Jason T. Guiliano
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