General Louis H. Wilson, Jr., the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (visit the site) and a recipient of The Medal of Honor from World War II, read this poem in the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, Camp Lejeune, N.C. on November 10, 1978:LoveThe wonderful love of a beautiful maid,The love of a staunch, true man,But the greatest of loves,The quintessence of loves,Even greater than that of a mother,Is the tender, passionate, infinite love,On 10 November of each year, Marines across the planet celebrate the Marine Corps birthday. This season marks the 240th anniversary of the founding of the Corps, the original location of which was Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. Marines have always taken a special pride in tracing their historical origins to a recruiting station inside a tavern. Do you assume a Leatherneck veteran of the Revolutionary War, sitting on a barstool at Tun Tavern in 1780 and enjoying a brew, would have any idea that nine generations later Marines would be fighting a War on Terror? “Terror?” “It is neither,” we might reply. “It’s an, uh, well, I guess it’s kind of a thing.””Then how can you fight a thing?”Fantastic question. But I digress. Back to the birthday party.There will be birthday balls in Marine articles all over the world. Marines will arrive decked out in dress blues, the women in dresses. There will be speeches, and a solemn moment of remembrance for all those Marines who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the nation. That number, by the way, is 44,500 Marine battlefield deaths, with another 220,000 wounded, from the Revolution to Afghanistan. The Tun Tavern Marine might wince in astonishment at such amounts.There will be fancy cakes, often several layers , ceremonially sliced with a sword. The standard passing of cake from the oldest to the youngest Marine will demonstrate the passing of this honour, experience, and heart of the Corps into another generation of Marines to continue.Then there’ll be toasts.The stirring Marines’ Hymn will be played, bringing everybody in the house to their feet. “From the Halls of Montezuma…”And more toasts.The Marines know how to do a lot of things. They know how to fight and win (and yes, they’ve adapted to learn how to fight a”thing”). They know how to keep their rich traditions. And they certainly know how to throw an annual birthday celebration. Nobody does it better. And I happen to know that for a truth.Joyful 240th, Marines!And by the way, due to my Tun Tavern Leatherneck for not only helping to save our country, but for helping to begin a Corps of Marines.Semper Fi.