Wednesday, November 10, 2010

""Resolved: That Two Battalions of Marines Be Raised..."

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

It was a brew house built in 1693 at the intersection of Water Street and Tun Alley near the docks, and so the wooden structure built by Samuel Carpenter and his brother Joshua was ultimately known simply as Tun Tavern.

Over the decades, while fires of independence were being stoked that would eventually enflame all thirteen colonies, it became a favorite gathering place in that part of colonial Philadelphia known as Carpenter's Wharf, attracting the likes of Jefferson, Washington and Franklin. So it was that when Captain Samuel Nicholas was commissioned by the Second Continental Congress on November 10th, 1775 to raise two battalions of Marines, he appointed Robert Mullen, the proprietor of the establishment, to the position of Chief Marine Recruiter.

It must have been a raucous scene in that watering hole, night after night, as Mullen set out to attract able-bodied volunteers, though he was instructed that “no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required…”

The newly-established Continental Marines were to provide on-board security for the ship's Captain and crew, and during naval engagements Marine sharpshooters were dispatched to the top of the fighting masts. From there, they targeted enemy officers, gunners and helmsmen.

They wore green coats with white lapels and a distinctive high collar made of leather, designed to protect against sword and cutlass slashes. Even today, the Marine Corps dress uniform features a high collar in commemoration of those first two battalions - and they are still known as “Leathernecks.”

I could not let this date go by without asking you to think of them. I am, as you are, intensely and rightly proud of ALL branches of our military, but I must admit that I experience a little surge of adrenalin when I read the words, "The Marines have landed!"

They have defended our flag in God-forsaken, pestilent jungles across the globe. They have defended our liberty and independence with glory and honor, engaging and defeating enemies who may have had the advantage in numbers and guns, but could never surpass them in heart and courage.

They have been fighting and dying for our freedom since the days when the fate of our Republic may have depended upon the outcome of the next battle. They are symbolized by men like Sergeant Dan Daly, exhorting his Marines up and over the top against overwhelming odds in bloody Belleau Wood with the words "C'mon you sons-of-bitches, do you want to live forever?"

They are the stuff of legends.

Happy 235th Birthday, Marines. We couldn't have made it without you. May God bless you and keep you, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

Yours in Liberty,

Frank Santarpia
Staten Island, NY


"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."

- President Ronald Reagan