The United States Marine Corps is most commonly referred to as the United States Marines or the USMC. It’s a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
The US Marine Corp conduct amphibious operations, in league with the Navy (another US military branch). The Marines, Navy, Army, and the Airforce are the four branches that make up the US Department of Defense.
The original two battalions of the Marine Corp were formed in November of 1775. It happened on the tenth day of the month, which is why the Marine Corps birthday is celebrated on November 10 of each year.
They were formed in Philadelphia, as a needed branch of service that could fight on the shore and at sea. They became an integral part of the Navy June 30, 1834.
Once the Marine Corps Birthday was officially established it was time for something to be done about it. That would mean lots of pomp and circumstance. The military isn’t all about war and guns, it’s about being part of something you can be proud of.
Why the USMC Birthday Is Celebrated
It actually wasn’t until late October in 1921 that a Major suggested the Marine Corp celebrate the day this branch of the military was “born”. Major McClellan created a memorandum addressed to Commandant Lejeune.
Lejeune would then be the person that penned Order 47. This order described the Marines, their history, and would lead to a yearly celebration.
Why wouldn’t any branch of the military want to celebrate the creation of their group’s birthday? It’s a chance to be reminded of why the US Military exists. It’s a chance for Marines to celebrate more than just a war victory or surviving a deployment.
How the Marine Corp Celebrates Their Birthday
This isn’t just a boring party, it’s a birthday celebration. The Marines make November 10 a day of major celebration.
In 1925 the Marines celebrated their birthday with the first of their annual formal balls. Following that initial day of partying and pageantry, the birthday “parties” would be varied. There may be a dance, live music, mock battles like you’d see at a reenactment, and even sporting events.
In 1952 some major changes were made that created a more standard celebration for November 10. The formal ceremony would have a cake cutting. The first piece of the cake would go to the oldest Marine at the party. They would then pass it to the youngest one as a representation of the knowledge they’d pass to the new generation of soldiers.
The original order is read each year. They still often have a banquet and even some dancing. Pageants are also common. In these, current uniforms and historical ones are modeled on display to celebrate the history of the Marine Corp.
When Celebrations Aren’t Jovial
Not all celebrations of the Marine Corps Birthday are about cake cutting and dancing. It is said that Marines celebrate this birthday no matter where they are, which could be in the middle of a war. There isn’t anything happy about war.
Traditions like this may make it easier to get through war though. It offers the soldiers a chance to feel like it’s a normal day.
Another common, sadder, tradition on the USMC Birthday is a visit to Samuel Nicholas’s grave. Nicholas had a part in founding the Marines. Visits to his cemetery plot at the Arch Street Friends Meeting graveyard, which is located in Philadelphia, are scheduled. At dawn, a wreath is placed on his grave.
This day also offers another ideal time to look back at the Marines that have been lost. It’s very likely that celebrations have a moment of silence where men and woman of the USMC can take some time to remember and honor their fallen comrades.
How You Can Celebrate the USMC Birthday
The Marine Corps Birthday isn’t a holiday that the general public celebrates. If someone in your family is or has been a member of the Marines, you may want to celebrate. You could honor them in your own way, whether they’re living or dead.
The general public can take some extra initiative on this day to thank a soldier, Marine or not. It is because of the branches of the military in the US that people have the freedoms they have here. While it shouldn’t take a special day to thank them, why not use it anyway.
If you’re a Marine, this is an important day. Even if you can’t attend one of the formal parties with a cake cutting, take some time to be proud of the work you do. Remember those that have done before you.