Thursday, November 10, 2005

USMC birthday today

Gordon at Alternate Brain reminds us that today is the 230th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. The Marines are always the last on the budget, first on the spot, first to kill, first to be killed, sometimes for good causes, sometimes for not. Over the centuries they have developed a fatalism about their situation as the bastard child of the U.S. military, and some sober rituals, one of which Gordon details for us: the "birthday ball". It is said that once a Marine, always a Marine. I have to say it's true in my experience, every Marine that I ever met, no matter how few or how many years he spent in the service, is immediately and obviously recognizable as a Marine, no matter how many years it has been since he wore that uniform.

This is not, alas, a happy birthday for the Marines. Modern technology means they do not die in as large of numbers as in wars past (though still they die), but there are tolls other than death.

- Badtux the Somber Penguin

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