As the Marine Corps celebrates its 240th Anniversary, it is time to remember, reflect, and honor our Corps and the many men and women who have earned the designation of a “United States Marine.” The Marine Corps League perpetuates the traditions and spirit of ALL Marines and Navy FMF Corpsmen, who proudly wear or who have worn the eagle, globe, and anchor of the Corps. As the only congressionally chartered United States Marine Corps-related veteran’s organization in the United States, its Congressional Charter was approved by the 75th U.S. Congress and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 4, 1937. The organization credits its founding in 1923 to legendary Marine Corps Commandant John A. Lejeune.
Anyone with any knowledge of the military will quickly recognize the motto of the United States Marines, its roots go all the way back to 1883. Latin for “always faithful,” Semper Fidelis guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps, and to country, no matter what. Members of the Marine Corps League join together in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving the traditions and promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps, banding together those who are now serving in the United States Marine Corps and those who have been honorably discharged from that service that they may effectively promote the ideals of American freedom and democracy, voluntarily aiding and rendering assistance to all Marines and former Marines and to their widows and orphans, and to perpetuate the history of the United States Marine Corps and by fitting acts to observe the anniversaries of historical occasions of particular interest to Marines.
The Marine Corps League supports various programs to promote and honor the spirit and traditions of the Marines. These programs include but are not limited to Marines Helping Marines – Wounded Marines Program, various youth programs, a scholarship fund program, various legislative programs, Military Order of the Devil Dogs, and Boy Scouts of America.
Perhaps the most widely recognized program is the annual “Toys for Tots” drive. Launched nationally in 1948 by Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, and his wife, the goals and objectives of the Marine Toys for Tots program are the same as the overall Toys for Tots Program. “To deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them into becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens. To also play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources, our children.” In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U. S. Look for Toys for Tots bins all around the Athens community, to include the Alabama Veterans’ Museum!
Skip Ferguson, Commandant of the local Kenny E. Black Detachment #1166 of Athens, would like to invite all Marines to join them for fellowship. Meetings are held at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum on the second Tuesday of each month at 6PM! For more information, please call 256-529-5907.
By Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum