Happy 245th Birthday US Marines

16 November 2020

A formal ball has been a tradition in celebrating the birthday of the United States Marine Corps since 1925. This year in Pretoria, due to restrictions imposed to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, the ball could not take place. However the pomp and pageantry was still present at the 245th birthday event hosted by Lana Marks, Ambassador of the United States to South Africa.

The US Marine Corps was established on 10 November 1775 and in 1952 celebrations were standardised and formalised. In Pretoria the cake was deftly cut with a sword by Lieutenant-General Cox and after offering a piece to the host, Ambassador Marks, the oldest Marine passed the slice on to the youngest Marine as per tradition.

During her remarks Ambassador Lana Marks thanked the Marine Corps for their “dedication, love of country, and for their endless defense of the Constitution and government of the United States. She said that former marine Nathaniel Fick described ‘hardness’ as a supreme virtue among Marines. “Hardness is the ability to face an overwhelming situation with aplomb, smile calmly at it and then triumph through sheer professional pride.”

Lieutenant-General Cox said that the Marine Corps is special, the values and ideals of the Corps are perfect. Marines love and respect their country and join to serve a cause that is bigger than themselves as individuals.

In a video message relayed at the ceremony Commandant Gen. David Berger said, "Trust is not given nor is it easily earned. Today the trust of the nation is our inheritance. A trust earned through the selfless valor and determined actions of generations of Marines on the distant shores and misty battlefields of our story pass.” The video included past Marines whose actions ranging from World War II to Vietnam to Afghanistan continue to be an inspiration to all Marines.

The video included a message from Dorothy Cole, a World War II veteran who at 107 is the oldest-living Marine. "No matter who you are, do something of service for your country," Cole said. "I've always been proud to say that I was in the Marine Corps."