“If the Army and the Navy ever look on heaven’s scenes, they will see the streets are guarded by United States Marines.” The last line of the Marine Corps Hymn may mean nothing to an outsider. However, if you have stepped foot on those yellow footprints…it’s meaning is endless.
I usually don’t disagree with my buddy the Mad Ogre but I have to part company on one point. I have heard him on more than one occasion mention that the Marines should be absorbed into the Army Rangers. That’s all a Marine is…right? Just another Ranger level soldier? George isn’t alone. We’ve had presidents want to disband the Corps. So he’s in good company.
Let’s take a closer look at what a Marine is. A Marine is so much more than another warrior in uniform. You’ll notice that a Marine doesn’t wear a flag on his uniform. He doesn’t need to. You see, only a Marine is allowed to be on the Presidential Detail. Only a Marine is allowed to guard Camp David. Go to any US Embassy and you will find Marines guarding it. A Marine doesn’t need to have a flag on his uniform to represent America. A Marines is HIS OWN symbol of America. You go anywhere in the world and civilians meet a Marine in uniform with a certain reverence. The same reverence that you would expect at a flag ceremony. A Marine is a walking, talking American banner for all to see. So you strip away the Corps you strip away part of what makes America great.
A Marine is more than the man. A Marine is a symbol of why America has lasted long enough to fight and win two world wars. He symbolizes the greatness of the country he fights for. It’s one of the first lessons in boot camp. You are more than yourself. People see you they see your entire family, your unit, your Corps, your country. From the time you step on those yellow foot prints you are more than you ever were before.
So, do we just throw away a symbol that has been looked on with awe since 1775? Do we toss out the reverence given the Devil Dogs name earned in WWI? How about the national symbol of Marines and Sailors raising the flag on Mt Suribochi? Do we just absorb that and call them Rangers or do we show a little goll damned respect? Sure the Army has their own heroes. Their own men that will forever be remembered. Not one of them will ever be a United States Marine. Even the name alone exudes power and respect. Every country has an army. A few even have their own Marines but there is only one UNITED STATES MARINE CORP.