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News | Nov. 10, 2014

DIA celebrates the 239th Marine Birthday

By DIA Public Affairs

Marines assigned to DIA celebrated the 239th birthday of the Marine Corps at DIA headquarters, November 7.

“On this day, as we celebrate our past and strive to live up to and exceed our cherished history, I charge you equally with taking a moment to reflect on the past and where we are in this moment in history and what our corps needs to be for our nation’s future, and then to make it that way,” said keynote speaker Col. R.E. (Ted) Anders, chief of staff, U.S. Marine Corps Director of Intelligence.

Although the Marine’s have the fewest members assigned to DIA of the services, there was no lack of pride and honor. Marines were joined by more than 100 other service members and DIA personnel to celebrate the Marines’ illustrious history and highlight their joint camaraderie.

“As surely as our corps of the past belongs to the heroes with names like Lejeune, Puller, Daly, Basilone, and the corps of the present belongs to heroes on distant beaches and battlefields…the corps of tomorrow is yours,” said Anders.

The celebration included a time-honored cake cutting ceremony, in which a ceremonial sword is used to slice pieces that are given to the oldest and youngest Marines at a command.

“Symbolism is extremely important to Marines,” said Anders. “The symbolism of the first piece of a birthday cake being passed from the oldest Marine present to the youngest present is a powerful symbol.”

On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress passed a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised,” thus establishing the Continental Marines and marking the birth date of the United States Marine Corps. Serving on land and at sea, the first Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations, including their first amphibious raid into the Bahamas in March 1776.

“From 1775 to the present day, a high standard has been set that we have been charged to follow,” said Anders. “I charge you on this day to live up to that challenge, to rise up to every challenge, to leave it all on the field, to hit the rack at night tired because you’ve left it on the field, because you put everything you can into what you do, you’ve given everything.”

The celebration was held the Friday prior to the actual Marine Corps birthday of November 10 to allow DIA service members time off in recognition of Veteran’s Day the same week.