November 10th is the official birthday of the United States Marines, which were established by the Second Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War, on November 10, 1775.
So, today, I’d like to salute the US Marine Corps by listing the 10 most famous quotations about and by Marines.
1. “From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the Shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
On the land as on the sea; [changed to “In the air, on land, and sea” in 1942]
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.”
Lyrics from “The Marines’ Hymn”
Penned in the mid-1800s by an anonymous writer
Copyrighted by the United States Marine Corps on August 19, 1891
(All three verses and the history of the song are posted here.)
2. “Semper Fidelis” (“Always Faithful”)
Official motto of the US Marine Corps
Adopted in 1883. (Often shortened to “Semper fi!”)
4. “Retreat, hell! We just got here.”
Attributed to Marine Captain Lloyd S. Williams
Reply when a French colonel ordered him to have the US 5th Marine Division retreat at Belleau Wood on June 1, 1918.
5. “The Marines have landed, and the situation is well in hand.”
American journalist Richard Harding Davis
Cablegram announcing the Marines’ 1935 landing in Panama
6. “Gung ho.”
Motto adopted by Marine Lt. Col. Evans Fordyce Carlson and his “Raiders”
Popularized by articles about Carlson’s Raiders during World War II
In Chinese, the term means “work together”
7. “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
U.S. Navy Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (1885-1966)
Communiqué sent on March 16, 1945
Announcing and saluting the victory of the US Marines at Iwo Jima
Engraved on the base of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery
8. “We're looking for a few good men.”
US Marines recruiting slogan
Created around 1970 by adman Warren Pfaff (1929-2004)
Based on the 1776 poster headline: “Looking for a few good men to serve as Marines.”
9. “The Few, the Proud, the Marines.”
A more recent Marine recruiting slogan, adopted around 2007
Voted into Madison Avenue’s Advertising Walk of Fame in 2007
10. “In space, no one can hear you scream – unless it’s the battle cry of the United States Marines!”
Marine Sgt. Major Frank Bougus (played by R. Lee Ermey)
In the debut episode of the science fiction TV series Space: Above and Beyond (1995)
OK, that last one is not exactly a famous quote. But it’s a favorite of mine.
I’m a big fan of both the United States Marines and of Space: Above and Beyond, in which future Leathernecks fight to protect Earth from aliens.
If we ever do face a war with aliens, I expect US Marines will be there risking their lives for us on the front lines, as always.
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