On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress authorized the creation of the US Marine Corps. Two battalions were ever raised from young men recruited from places like Philadelphia's Tun Tavern, the very first recruiting location of the Corps.
Here, on November 10, 2012, the Marine Corps celebrates its 237th birthday.
Those Members of Congress could have little imagined what they were authorizing in 1775, apart from an immediate need to turn back the British Redcoats by force of arms during the American Revolution. No small concern, that. But they could not have foreseen the growth of the Corps over the coming years, and the expanding role Marines would assume in the defense of the nation. They knew only that the risks were great, the stakes extraordinarily high, and the bright of the fledgling country growing more desperate by the day. They needed men who would fight with tenacity and skill, who would stand their ground and man their posts even when all seemed lost, and in so doing honor and inspire the young nation with their examples of courage and commitment. What they needed were Marines.
And that's exactly what they got.
Those Members of Congress in 1775 put into play a military force that, almost a century later, would earn additional battle streamers during the Civil War. A half-century after Appomattox, a larger, harder-hitting force of Marines would take to the field in Europe during World War I and became known as "Devil Dogs" by incredulous Germans who could only slow, but not stop, their repeated, aggressive attacks. In World War II, Marines would fight a bloody, relentless, island-by-island campaign that would soon thereafter become the stuff of legends. The Korean War was likewise bloody, with the Pusan landing and the Chosin Reservoir adding to an already illustrious history. The Vietnam War would produce more Marine Corps casualties than did World War II, with places like Khe Sanh and Hue becoming famous for Marine resolve and bravery.
More recently, Marines have seen action in Kuwait and Iraq, and today remain in harm's way in Afghanistan. The young men and women who have worn the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor during the War on Terror have honored the county with their service, as Marines always have, for what is now 237 years.
Those Members of Congress created things that would end, like the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. And, thankfully, a Marine Corps to ensure their continuity.
Happy birthday, Marines.