241 years of service: Happy birthday, Marines!

The U.S. Marine Corps was originally formed as the Continental Marines.

Joe Rosenthal’s famous image of five U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman raising a flag atop Mount Surubachi on Iwo Jima during World War II. Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize for the now iconic photo. (Joe Rosenthal/AP file)

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine.’ That’s what many members of the elite branch of Armed Forces will tell you, even decades after they serve.

Each year, Marines celebrate hundreds of years of service and an unmistakable culture of tradition, values and honor. The United States Marine Corps has been an integral part of our nation’s defense since its creation by the Continental Congress in 1775, with its hand in every single national conflict from the Revolutionary War to the Global War on Terror.

This anniversary means a great deal to Retired Marine Colonel Bennett Walsh, the Holyoke Soldiers Home superintendent. “It taught me a lot about being a better human being and a better American,” Walsh told 22News. “It’s like a second birthday. You think of Marines you’ve been with and you reach out to them, it’s really like your birthday.”

Superintendent Walsh later accompanied Holyoke Soldiers Home residents to a Veterans Day program at S. Stanislaus school in Chicopee.

The Continental Congress approved a resolution forming what would become today’s U.S. Marine Corps November 10, 1775. They wanted two battalions of Marines to be able to fight for independence both at sea and on shore.To this day Marines are still fighting for our American freedoms on both land and sea. They serve all over the U.S., aboard U.S. Navy Ships, and at deployed stations around the world as the nation’s first line of defense.

Marines have displayed their strength in the face of danger since day one. From their first land battle victory on the shores of Tripoli, to the iconic Battle of Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines carry on a legacy unlike any other.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

You can learn a lot more about the history of the United States Marine Corps, and the sacrifices made by Marines in service to our country, by visiting marines.com.