Marines across the nation are set to celebrate 244 years of loyalty and faithfulness, with an event in Huntsville playing a small part.
The U.S. Marine Corps was established on November 10, 1775 by the Second Continental Congress to intercept ammunition shipments from the British, turning the tide of the American revolution. Today, over 220,000 active and retired Marines carry on the distinction and honor of the most versatile military branch.
“I wanted to join the corps since I was seven years old. I joined in 1963 during the Vietnam War after high school, working as an infantry man, military police and criminal investigation,” H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum executive director Kenneth Lee said. “The Marines are the smallest military branch, but that has only made the bond stronger. We always say, ‘once a marine, always a marine.’”
Marines were initially founded to combine both the land operations of the Army and the sea-based operations of the Navy. They have been involved in some of the most iconic and important battles in American history, including the battle of Iwo Jima, which led to the iconic image of Marines hoisting the flag above the island.
“Marines are the only outfit that is land, air, sea, fully combat ready 24/7,” Lee added. “Many are not aware, but Marines are responsible for protecting embassies in every country. We are the first ones in, last ones out in combat and always set out to accomplish the mission in front of them.”
H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum of Texas will host a birthday celebration for the Marine Corps Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the Walker County Storm Shelter, with cake for all attendees. All current and former Marines are encouraged to attend.
“We host this celebration each year to get together, look at pictures and share stories with our brothers,” Lee said. “We have had as many as 140 Marines attend before and it is always meaningful to them. It is all about friendship and camaraderie and is celebrated at every Marine outpost on earth. ”
A $10 donation will be requested to attend.