A birthday tribute from Rep. Dan Kristiansen – Faithful to our nation for 240 years: The United States Marines
During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia. There was one gathering place in particular that stands out.
Founded at the corner of Water Street and Tun Alley, the three-story Tun Tavern derived its name from the Old English word, “tun” for keg or a barrel of beer. The Tun Tavern became popular among seafarers and other mariners because it was located near Philadelphia’s waterfront along the Delaware River.
In the fall of 1775, members of the Naval Committee of the Continental Congress, including John Adams, met several times at the Tun Tavern to discuss naval and maritime affairs and plan operations for the new Continental Navy. In the dimly lit tavern over a pitcher of beer, we can only imagine the discussions that led to the formation of a group to fight for independence at sea and on shore. On this very day, 240 years ago, the resolution drafted from those discussions was passed by the Continental Congress to form what eventually became the United States Marine Corps.
“Friday, Nov. 10, 1775: Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies; unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines.”
As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas was named captain of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern’s owner and patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first lieutenant and recruiter. Together, they chose the Tun Tavern as the recruiting headquarters of the Marines. Only weeks later, the Marine Corps conducted its first amphibious raid, successfully storming a British weapons cache in the Bahamas.
From the halls of Montezuma during a bloody battle in 1847 where the Marines captured Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City during the Mexican-American war, through World War II and the Marine capture of the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Imperial Army, to the mountains of Afghanistan, the United States Marine Corps has earned the world’s respect as an elite and reliable fighting unit wherever put into combat. They have faithfully and successfully defended our nation throughout its history.
In 1921, Marine Commandant John Lejeune looked back at the history on the birthday of the Marines, writing: “On Nov. 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name ‘Marine.’ The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organization in the world’s history. During 90 of 146 years of its existence, the Marine Corps has been in action against the nation’s foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray at war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.”
What began in that little tavern 240 years ago now includes more than 200,000 active duty and reserve Marines, willing to serve and sacrifice so that you and I can live, work and raise a family in a nation of freedom.
Tomorrow, is Veterans’ Day, and we recognize, celebrate and honor all American service men and women in every branch of our military. We owe them and their families an enormous debt of support, respect and gratitude for their service to our nation.
Today, on its birthday, I would like to give special recognition to the men and women of the United States Marine Corps for 240 years of faithful service to our nation.
From the lyrics of the Marine Corps Hymn: “We fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea; First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean; We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.”
Semper fidelis! And happy birthday!