ARLINGTON, Virginia –
On Nov. 10, 2021, Marines across the globe will recognize and acknowledge 246 years of service to their country, the sacrifices made to defend democracy, and the Marine Corps’ enduring legacy as America’s premier fighting force.
The Marine Corps’ annual tradition celebrates the establishment of the organization on Nov. 10, 1775, by the Second Continental Congress. Following their role in the American Revolution, the Marines were abolished following the Treaty of Paris in April 1783. Then on July 11, 1798, Congress ordered the creation of the Marine Corps and directed that it be available for service under the Secretary of the Navy.
The birthday, also known as Marine Corps Day, was originally celebrated on July 11 from 1799 until 1921 when Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune issued an order to formalize the tradition and establish the official day to honor the birthday of the Marine Corps. The ceremony traditionally includes a guest of honor, a reading of Lejeune’s birthday message and the current Commandant’s message, recognition of the oldest and youngest Marine present, and a cake cutting.
While the first cake ceremony is unknown, the first on record took place at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., in 1937. Maj. Gen. Thomas Holcomb, the commandant, presided at an open house for Marine Corps officers, including the cutting of a huge cake in the shape of Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the Corps.
"...as the next evolution of warfighting becomes our reality, it will still be the Marines who defend this Nation.” Gen. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps
In this year’s annual message, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black pay tribute to the men and women who joined following September 11, 2001. These Marines were called to service as an elite counter-insurgency force and made great contributions in the deserts of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Northern Africa.
“As we mark the 20th anniversary of those who fought the war on terror and are now retiring, we want them to know that we appreciate their courage, sacrifice, and the valor they showed during this conflict,” Berger said.
In the message, Berger and Black also share their vision for young Marines, who have important roles to play in continuing the legacy of Marines as amphibious warfighters.
“The next generation of Marines may operate differently and in different places than the Marines who wear the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor today. Yet they will join a long and proud heritage of Marine fighters who have never turned from a threat or an enemy. We will always remain most ready when our Nation is least ready because we must protect our shores and our citizens. And as the next evolution of warfighting becomes our reality, it will still be the Marines who defend this Nation,” Berger said.