You can see the post on the Marines official blog here!
Why Do We Celebrate Today? (The Marine Corps Birthday)
It’s likely been happening all day that some of my friends on Facebook have looked at my page and become confused. It’s not his birthday, is it? Dario’s born in December right? Christmas isn’t it? How could I forget that?
This is a scene that has been happening all morning and will continue happening all day as we Marines take over the web, the airwaves, and a significant portion of all telephone communications to wish our brothers and sisters a “Happy birthday.”
Yes, this is a scene that is playing out all over America, and all over the world. Two old salty gunnys from Brooklyn are probably sitting in a park today, wearing scarlet and gold jackets, their Marine tattoos wrinkled underneath, and reminiscing on celebrating the Marine Corps’ Birthday in the chilled landscape of Korea.
A World War II Marine is in D.C. today with his wife, shrinking in stature underneath the epic Iwo Jima Memorial, the giant statue commemorating the flag-raising on Mount Suribachi during that famous battle, our national colors flapping in the November breeze. Hand in hand, she’ll kiss him on the cheek and say, “Happy birthday, love.”
Vietnam Marines are at their local VFW hall, motorcycles parked outside, mugs raised, trying not to spill too much beer on their beards as their birthday celebrations continue on.
Younger Marines, veterans of the recent wars, are tweeting their love for their Corps and texting their buddies, “Hey, bro. Thanks for watching my back.”
And a lieutenant in Helmand province, Afghanistan, today is concluding his patrol brief by saying to his platoon, “Let’s make this happen. Happy birthday, Marines.” They’ll lock and load and continue the fight. They’ll carry our honor on this day.
So why do we do this? Why do we celebrate with such fervency the day the Corps was born by an act of the Second Continental Congress? Why does this date linger in our minds?
It’s because of our camaraderie. It’s because of the forged bonds of hardship. It’s because we are not as lean and not as mean, but still Marines. It’s because of that lieutenant and his platoon. We do it for those of us who are no longer here to raise their glasses in celebration, and our friends who will die tomorrow. Maybe we do it because, even at 236-years-old, we’re happy to report that our Corps still lives on, as powerful, professional, and determined to protect freedom as ever.
And we’ll be here until there is no enemy anymore. Just peace.
Dario “D-Boh” DiBattista
Iraq War Veteran
Corporal, USMCR 2001 – 2007
All photos below courtesy of LCpl Michael McMaugh, 1st Marine Division Combat Camera
RIP Gunnery Sergeant Fontecchio (above image)