Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the opportunity to publically demonstrate their appreciation for the sacrifices and successes made by our service members – past and present. This month is a time of reflection for veterans, active duty military, their families and the citizens of the United States to remember the Fallen. I am a retired Marine, Woman Marine (WM), so this is where I want to spend time reminiscing.
My reflection, as a retired Marine, reminds me of the history of the United States Marines. I served in the Marine Corps for 20 years, and the life lessons learned continue to influence my path today. I pulled out my card given to me many years ago intended to prompt me as to what it means to be a Marine. On the front of the card:
- Honor – Integrity, responsibility, accountability
- Courage – do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons
- Commitment – devotion to the Corps and my fellow Marines
On the back of the card, Marines…
- Obey the law
- Lead by example
- Respect themselves and others
- Maintain a high standard of integrity
- Support and defend the constitution
- Uphold special trust and confidence
- Place faith and honor above all else
- Honor fellow Marines, the Corps, Country, and Family
The card, in turn, lead me to revisit the Marine Corps’ inception. For those that didn’t know and for those that need to reminisce, here’s the condensed version:
The United States Marine Corps was established on November 10, 1775, to augment naval forces in the Revolutionary War. The recruiting headquarters was set up in the Tun Tavern on Water Street in Philadelphia, which is considered to be the birthplace of the Marines. After success in many campaigns, the Corps was abolished at the close of the Revolutionary War for reasons of economy. On July 11, 1798, Congress ordered the creation of the Corps, named it the United States Marine Corps and directed that it be available for service under the Secretary of the Navy.
In 1918, the Secretary of Navy allowed women to enroll for clerical duty in the Marine Corps. During that year some 300 women first entered the Marine Corps to take over stateside clerical duties from battle-ready Marines who were needed overseas. June 12th, 1948, Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act and made women a permanent part of the regular Marine Corps. Women serve in 93 percent of all occupational fields and 62 percent of all billets. Women constitute 7.11 percent of the Corps end strength and are an integral part of the Marine Corps.
Walking as a Christian and serving my country has caused me to regularly conduct evaluations on myself to ensure I am doing my best to live up to the ideals through my faith in Christ and the Marine Corps. I know I don’t get it right all the time, none do, but for me it’s to continue to strive to perfect those ideals. By doing so, to this point, opportunities have come my way in spite of the circumstances. Though to many the simple ideals of living as a Christian and retired Marine may seem old fashion, and they may be, but they have been proven and still stand the test of time. If it weren’t for the ideals of God, Country and family, would there have still been those that made the ultimate sacrifice? Kind of scary to think about it! I thank the Fallen throughout America’s history who DID make the ultimate sacrifice to keep our Country FREE. I thank those who have stepped up to serve and currently serve, making the statement to the world ~that you support and defend the constitution and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Armed Forces Day (third Saturday) and Memorial Day (last Monday in May).
Hopefully I’ll see you at the memorial service at the Houston National Cemetery:
Houston National Cemetery
10410 Veterans Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77038
Ceremony: May 30 at 9:30 a.m.
~ Semper Fi, Natalie