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Marines Regulate Fallen But Never Forgotten

Posted By Blackfive • [April 12, 2007]

    'A toast, my friends, raise your glasses to "Absent Companions!"' - The first unofficial military toast I ever learned (and one I still use).  Your response is "Absent Companions!", drain your glass and turn it over on the bar.

The Commandant of Marines is directing a change to Mess protocols.

TO THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE

UNCLAS 111320Z APR 07
CMC WASHINGTON DC
TO  AL ALMAR(UC
ALMAR 020/07
MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC CMC//
SUBJ/TO THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE//

1.  TO BE A MARINE IS TO BE A PART OF SOMETHING THAT REPRESENTS THE BEST OF OUR NATION. IT IS TO ACCEPT A WAY OF LIFE THAT EMBODIES SELFLESS SERVICE - TO DEFEND THOSE WHO CANNOT DEFEND THEMSELVES, TO THRIVE IN THE HARDSHIP AND SACRIFICE EXPECTED OF AN ELITE WARRIOR CLASS, TO MARCH TO THE SOUND OF THE GUNS, AND TO ABLY SHOULDER THE HERITAGE CREATED BY THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US.

2.  ONLY A FEW AMERICANS CHOOSE THE DANGEROUS AND NECESSARY WORK OF FIGHTING OUR NATIONS ENEMIES.  AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THAT CHOICE, SOME HAVE PAID THE UTIMATE PRICE, JOINING THE HONOR ROLL OF HEROES WHO BUILT THE NOBLE LEGACY OF OUR CORPS.  FOR THOSE OF US WHO CARRY ON THAT LEGACY, IT IS OUR OBLIGATION TO HONOR THOSE FALLEN MARINES. AS MARINES GATHER IN CELEBRATION OF OUR HISTORY, WE GATHER IN THE SHADOWS OF GREATNESS - THOUGH OUR FALLEN CAN NO LONGER PARTICIPATE IN OUR TRADITIONS, THEY WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF US AND WHO WE ARE.

3.  THEREFORE, I AM DIRECTING THAT ALL UNIT MESS NIGHTS AND MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY BALL CELEBRATIONS INCLUDE WORTHY AND APPROPRIATE TRIBUTES TO OUR FALLEN COMRADES.  SUBSEQUENT CHANGES TO THE DRILL AND CEREMONIES MANUAL WILL REFLECT THIS REQUIREMENT.  THROUGH MEANINGFUL REMEMBRANCE, THE SACRIFICES OF "THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE" WILL NOT BECOME DISTANT MEMORIES, BUT WILL LIVE ALWAYS IN OUR WARRIOR CULTURE.

4.  SEMPER FIDELIS, JAMES T. CONWAY, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE


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