Commandants Birthday Message (2001)

Flag of the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps


As we commemorate the 226th anniversary of the founding of our Corps, Marines everywhere can take pride in their contributions to our great nation. We are a Corps born of an act of Congress, consecrated in sacrifice, steeped in tradition, and tested in battle. Our earned legacy is filled with the names of many great Marines: Lejeune, Vandegrift, Puller… Butler, Bestwick, Daly — who fill the annals of our lineage with their inspired acts of vision and gallantry.

Heroic actions on the battlefield are a hallmark of our legacy. Equally compelling are the countless heroic deeds of many other Marines who exemplify the virtue of placing the needs of others above their own. Whether it be a Marine saving an Okinawan child from drowning, or pulling people from a burning wreck, or a family extending itself to provide a safe, nurturing home for disadvantaged children, our lives are indeed full of heroism. Today we celebrate these deeds, not as exploits, but as contributions to the greater good — circumstances where Marines take care of not just their own, but reach out to care for others

A lone Marine standing vigil on a dark night in Kosovo; a Marine Reservist serving as a firefighter or police officer who responds to an emergency in his community; a civilian Marine working alongside his counterparts in uniform who shares the perils and realities of a terrorist attack; and a committed spouse who finds the time to serve as an advocate for family programs in addition to making a home and supporting the family — all are among the heroes of all generations. We are indebted to them for their example of strength and their presence of character. They embrace our core values and live them to the fullest. They inspire us to do the same. We admire and appreciate their example as we celebrate the birth of our Corps and our rich heritage. As our motto enjoins us, let us always be faithful, to our God, our country, our Corps and to our families. Let us also resolve to be always faithful to those Marines who have bestowed upon us our proud legacy of sacrifice, courage, and victory against any foe.

To all Marines, past and present, who uphold the finest traditions of our Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, Happy Birthday.

Semper Fidelis,
General, U.S. Marine Corps