joy magnetism: The few. The proud.




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Monday, April 27, 2009

The few. The proud.

Magnet #430 - Semper Fi

The U.S. Marine Corps adopted semper fidelis, Latin phrase for always faithful back in the 1880s, meaning that they're always dedicated to the mission, the country, their brotherhood. It's a way of life and a mantra they always live by, even after they've left service - once a marine, always a marine. There are no ex-marines.

I picked this magnet for today, because on this day in 1805, the Marines took Derna, on the coast of Tripoli (now Libya), part of the Barbary conflict, or the Barbary wars, or the Tripolitan War. I know!

Barbary what? Tripolwho? Guys, I'm a fairly intelligent soul with a pretty good grasp of history, but I'm still trying to remember where this section was during our AP U.S. History class! Or, any of my other history classes, for that matter.

This time period, though, has been getting a little more play with all the piracy issues we've been having of late, with folks comparing Obama to Jefferson.

The gist of the story is that at the time, we were still paying monetary tributes to Barbary pirates for safe passage along the Barbary Coast (made up of what's now Libya [once called Tripolitania], Tunis, Morocco, and Algeria). Some bad pasha reneged on the arrangement, and tried to get the ships to pay double.

Jefferson, as minister to France had been opposed to these tributes for several years, was now president, and took this opportunity to say hell no, we won't pay, and the Barbary conflict began. From what I gather, it was one of the first times America tried to execute foreign policy.

But, it was actually the first time the marines were sent to fight on foreign soil, and it included an overland desert march of something like 500-600 miles, while the navy fought along the coast. Once they took Derna, they were able to restore the pasha-ship back to the rightful ruler, and the guy was so grateful, he presented one of our guys with the Mameluke sword - the only ceremonial piece that we still use today.

You know the sword I mean - the one that the really hot marines use in the ads? Here's one. Or here. Or this knight one. I know, I can't help it. They can be a bit over the top with the majestic views and heroic music and sometimes silly storylines, but I do so love them. (And the hot marines. What? Like you didn't know that was coming.)

And no, I didn't know any of this before I looked it up, everything sort of just snowballed from there. But, hey. Now you know.

eta:
Hey! I totally forgot the obvious connection for the USMC to today...Chuck's Col Casey is a marine. Ya'll don't forget to buy a $5 footlong from Subway - although instead of a bonafide save the show campaign, there's a part of me that thinks that NBC's just in cahoots with Subway to drive traffic there to save a show that's a sure thing on the NBC schedule.
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2 comments:

GoldenGait said...

I missed both middle school US history (was living in Australia--but ask me about Captain Cook!), and high school US history (got lost in the shuffle from HI to CA), so I was just happy to be reminded that the US was already a country in 1805. :)

But thank you for the awesome "This Day In History" lesson!

And I know you're all about the cuteboys in uniform, but personally, I'm all about the pirates, so 25 points awarded for including some of them in your post, too. :)

joy said...

Eh, pirate outfits are a kind of uniform, too. Heheheh.

Oh! Before some history educator yells at me, I should probably caveat my history posts, huh. I like to retell the stories...but, always try my best to link people to more accurate information, should they want it. For example, "some bad pasha" probably wouldn't be on the test. :-)

I've probably said this before, but I really do love that out there in each different place, kids learn their local histories. Makes me feel all We are the World-y.