A mere few months after the chaotic and deadly end to America’s longest war, the Marine Corps prepares to celebrate its 246th birthday by honoring those joined after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, which started the war in Afghanistan.
Just before the two-minute mark the video cuts to news scenes from New York City moments before the first twin tower fell.
“When our nation called, Marines were there to defend her,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said during the five minute and 16-second video.
The commandant then compared 9/11 to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which brought the U.S. into World War II.
“That day changed everything,” Berger said.
The video cuts to Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black listing off famous battles of Afghanistan and Iraq, where Marines once again cemented themselves in history as one of the world’s finest fighting forces.
Sangin, Anbar, Fallujah, Helmand, Mosul ― to most of the country they are semi-familiar names on distant maps, but for the Marines who fought there they are intimate memories and reminders of the deaths of friends, brothers, sisters and comrades.
The Marines who fought there are heroes and legends like the Marines who made their way through Okinawa and Iwo Jima, Japan, in World War II, fought in the freezing cold in North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir or who held the line during the siege of Khe Sanh in Vietnam.
“We earned our reputation as an elite counter insurgency force,” Black said in the video.
The video then takes a look at the future and the changes the Corps is going through as the force moves away from 20 years in the Middle East to a potential future conflict with China.
“What Marines are, what Marines have always been, is amphibious warfighters ― and the changing battle now requires us to return to our origins, relying on foundations built by the Marines that came before us,” Berger said.
Black said the current force changes are just more changes in a long history of paradigm shifts the Marine Corps has gone through.
“The hard-won lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan and the blood Marines have shed there will not soon be forgotten,” Black said. “We’re using the lessons of our past combined with the weapons of the future to reimagine our warfighting abilities.”
Berger then used the video to ask Marines to provide ideas and feedback to “move the Corps into the future.”
The video’s final moments are used to honor Marine veterans who may no longer be directly associated with the Corps.
“As Marine brothers and sisters, Semper Fidelis is a pledge that we promise to live by,” Berger said.
Despite all the recent changes Berger said Corps’ identity is not at risk.
“The next generation of Marines may operate differently and in different places than the Marines who wear the eagle, globe and anchor today,” he said. “But they will join a long and proud heritage of Marine fighters who have never turned from a threat, never turned from an enemy.”
“Our infantry battalions will remain in the center of what we do and the Marine and their rifle will continue to be one of the deadliest weapons on the battlefield.”