Today we are taken back to the American Revolutionary War, November 10, 1775, the birth of the United States Marine Corps. The day when the Corps became an official symbol of respect, strength and fortitude within the midst of chaos. Today we show respect to those of us who accepted the call to be part of something proud, something honorable and something strong.
Few men and women were able to stand up and accept a calling that would take them far away from their homes, schools and work to defend not only the freedom of our own country, but the families, friends and neighbors of the oppressed and the forgotten. To leave behind a world that is familiar and safe in pursuit of the unknown is not often a choice that many can say they have made. Instead of being afraid, they stood up at Iwo Jima and raised a flag that had fallen in the midst of war, forever being immortalized in pictures, in monuments and in the memory of all those who learn. They landed at Inchon and fought at Da Nang. They liberated Kuwait and for the past ten years have been fighting a global war on terrorism.
Marines are remembered not by defeat or by your unwillingness to sacrifice, without question, a life that was predictable and safe. Marines are remembered by their honor, by their unfaltering courage and by their commitment to always faithfully accept the challenge to fight for freedom. Today, and always, we honor and thank them, as members of the United States Marine Corps, for their service to be the first to fight. Today, we extend our praise and congratulations on their birthday to those who were and who are, once a Marine, always a Marine.