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Today Marines around the world will celebrate the 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

While each branch of the military celebrates a birthday every year, to Marines, the birthday is sacred. Cake will be cut using a Mameluke sword, with the first piece going to the oldest Marine present, who then passes it along to the youngest Marine. General John Lejeune’s birthday message is read. The commandant’s birthday message is played.

This tradition is upheld around the world, from ballrooms outside of Marine Corps bases to forward operating bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Marines are known for their history and their culture. They’re the few and the proud, jarheads, Devil Dogs. The title of Marine is one that has to be earned, the only branch to do so, and becoming a Marine is like being reborn. You are forever changed, and you will be a Marine forever. The motto of “Semper Fidelis” — “Always Faithful” — is something that Marines truly believe. Once a Marine, always a Marine. So the Marine Corps birthday becomes a second birthday, and around the world, Marines will be celebrating. 

To our Marine veterans: thank you for your service and Semper Fi.