I asked close friend and former Marine “YP” to write a birthday essay for his fellow Marines. As always he delivers a routine message with style, little known anecdotes and a thoughtful message…
Was asked to say a few words about November 10th (Marine Corps birthday…) For the Marines out there, not much that I can say that they don’t know. For others, it may seem like the Marine Corps version of the Foreign Legion’s Cameron day.
Hard to explain. Marines do not have a patent on courage, love of country, willingness to fight against long odds. No Marines died at the Alamo or at Gettysburg. Only one died at the Little Big Horn.
In Boise there is a family restaurant with a bar… called Quinn’s. Quinn was a Korean War Marine. Every November 10th Marines (and Navy corpsmen who served with the lads in the field) from around the Treasure Valley and beyond show up for the Birthday celebration.
By late in the evening the proceedings are quite enthusiastic and lubricated. In 2005 many more Reservists than usual attended… Boise’s Marine tank company had just returned from duty along the Syrian border in Iraq.
But it was the 1997 ceremony that I remember best. At noon a printout of the Commandant’s message was read while all stood at attention. The youngest Marine present (a seventeen year old Reservist) as is the custom… cut a slice of the Birthday cake and presented it to the oldest Marine present… The oldest that year was a gentleman in his eighties. He had served with the Fourth Marine Regiment in China in the 1930s.
Rather than try to explain it, I will quote from the late Leon Uris, best selling author of the novels Exodus, Battle Cry (vastly better than the film)… etc. Uris was a Marine with the 2nd Marine Division when it moved through the surf onto Tarawa.
In Battle Cry Uris addresses the graduation from boot camp… passing in review.
“They were United States Marines now, and would be until the day they died…”