On this day in 1775 in a tavern in Philadelphia, the Marine Corps was born. Tun Tavern, established in 1685, was the birthplace of the Marines because the tavern owner, Robert Mullan, was commissioned by an act of Congress to raise the first two battalions of Continental Marines. The first appointed commandant was Samuel Nicholas. His grandfather was a member of the Tun Tavern Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, as was Mullan. It is this connection that lead to Tun Tavern being the birthplace of the USMC.
In 1775 the US Navy was established to intercept British ships sent to resupply British troops in the colonies. Five companies of Marines were mustered at Tun Tavern to join the Navy in their mission to stop the British ships. Those first Marines carried drums painted yellow with a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles and the motto "Don't Tread on Me". A flag of this design was given by Marine Colonel Christopher Gadsden to the first commander-in-chief of the Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins, to be used as a personal standard, and the South Carolina legislature (Gadsden was the Congressional representative from SC). This flag became known as the Gadsden flag and was one of the first flags of our young country, eventually being replaced by Old Glory. It is still an acknowledged symbol of the Corps to this day, as well as a symbol of liberty and a wonderful example of American spirit. A truly fitting symbol for our brave men and women in the USMC.
Our Marines are some of the most respected fighting men in the world. Their bravery is legendary. Their motto, Semper Fi - always faithful - is a tribute to their love of country. Their ranks have included tough guy icons like Steve McQueen, Lee Marvin, George C. Scott, Gene Hackman and R. Lee Ermey. Joining the Marines is a special call of duty. When things get tough, the Marines get to work. First in, last out. Mention the word 'Marine' and patriot's hearts are filled with pride and our enemies hearts are filled with fear.
So raise a glass today, and join the world-wide celebration of the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. And for those readers who count themselves among the few and the proud, thank you for your service. God bless you all.