Today is the 239th anniversary of the founding in Philadelphia of the U.S. Marines Corps.
Tradition holds that the corps’ birthplace was the Tun Tavern, then located at Water Street and Tun Alley, where the first marines enlisted.The tavern burned down in 1781. A historic marker at Sansom Walk and South Front Streets says the tavern stood nearby.
Current and former marines are expected to gather at Cookies Tavern, 10th Street and Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia, to raise a glass or two in honor of the corps.
The birthday went little noticed until 1921 when Marine Commandant John A. Lejeune issued Order 47, Series 1921, which says:
The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.
On Nov. 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name “Marine.” In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.
The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world’s history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence, the Marine Corps has been in action against the nation’s foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.
In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term “Marine” has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.
This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as “Soldiers of the Sea” since the founding of the Corps.