Rather than regale you with information that I have previously detailed in this blog, I will refer to some previous postings that I have done on the subject of the Corp as I continue. They include one on the recently opened Marine Corp Museum in Quantico, VA that I was able to visit while being privileged to attend a reunion of WWII Marine veterans that was held at that base.
Another stop during that memorable trip was to the original Marine Barracks (first used in 1801, and one of the few structures in Washington not damaged during the British occupation of Washington in the War of 1812). On this occasion, I was equally lucky to be able to listen to the President's own Marine Corp Drum and Bugle Corp and watch a truly intelligent, gifted, and talented group of soldiers as they performed the silent cadence of the Evening Parade. Almost all of the musician / soldiers have advanced college degrees, and they compete constantly for the honor of serving.
Many of those that we talked to in the Silent Drill Platoon had recently returned from front line service overseas. Without fail however, every one of the Marines we talked to that evening was happy to share the history of the barracks, the ceremony, and the Marine Corp with each and every one of us; and to impart some part of the dedication that they had to those of us who had never served.
As the bugler played 'Taps' at the end of the performance, anyone who was not moved by the especially emotional nature of that ceremony in that place simply had no heart. Of course no history of the Corp would be complete without a mention of the very special, and to me very personal story of "Lost Battalion", Company A of the 10th Amphibious Tractor Battalion (in which my father served during WWII). The story of their rather remarkable days in the Pacific is well worth remembering as part of the history of service of the Marines. So to all those jar heads (for the high and tight haircut), devil dogs (for the Marine Corp bulldog mascot) and leathernecks (for the leather collar that was part of their Revolutionary War uniform) out there; let me send out a proper birthday greeting: