A legacy is born Every year, I take the 10th of November off to celebrate my birthday (I am 237 years old this year!) and the 11th of November, as Veteran’s Day. This year, they are on Saturday and Sunday, so I don’t have to, but they are no less special. A committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern Philadelphia to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore. The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines. Each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men (and women) and the hundreds of thousands since, to defend our country as United States Marines. Below is a long email I send out to my friends who have served; read it if you would like, do not if you don’t wish, but thank you for your support, all the same. Happy 237th Birthday (November 10th, 1775), to all Hard-Charging Devil Dogs! Semper Fidelis, may you all stay safe and sound. Remember them in your prayers, if you do so. There is a video at the link below; take 12 minutes out of your day and watch it, you’ll be all the richer for it. 2012 Marine Corps Birthday Ball Happy Veteran’s Day, November 11, to all Vets! Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful, the Marine Corps Motto). “The title cannot be inherited, nor can it be purchased at any price. It cannot be rented or lent. It can only be earned, with our blood, sweat and lives. You own it forever; United States Marine.” "Freedom has a special meaning for those of us who have fought for it, that the protected shall never know." "I was that which others did not want to be, went where others feared to go, did what others failed to do, and accepted the thought of eternal loneliness should I fail. I asked nothing from those who gave nothing and humbly accepted the veneration or aversion of those who knew nothing of what they spoke. I have seen the face of terror, felt the stinging cold of fear, and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moments love. Most of all however, I have lived times that others would say were best forgotten, yet I can say something those others can not, I am proud of what I was, and continue to be… A United States Marine." “The Eagle, Globe and Anchor are tattooed on our soul.” The American Fighting (Wo)Man It is the American Fighting Man, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a free trial. It is the American Fighting Man, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of press. It is the American Fighting Man, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the American Fighting Man, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to demonstrate. It is the American Fighting Man, not the church, who has given us our precious Freedom of worship. It is the American Fighting Man, who consented to serve, who gives the objector, the freedom to conscientiously object. It is the American Fighting Man, who defends and salutes the flag, whose dead body is draped by the flag in death, which gives us the freedom to spit on the flag, disrespect the flag, and burn the flag in protest. Who is this American Fighting (Wo)Man? He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in the desert sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery when men’s lives hang in the balance. She is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years. He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or hasn't come back AT ALL. He is the San Diego or Parris Island Drill Instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs. He is the parade riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by. He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep. He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come once more. He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs. He is a soldier, a savior, a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony to and on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say "Thank You." That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been or were awarded. --Happy birthday Jarheads, and happy Veteran's day my friends. And may all those serving now, come home safely. Goodnight Chesty, wherever you are.