Ambassador Hamamoto: Remarks at the U.S. Mission’s Celebration of the 239th Birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps

Marine Ball239th Marine Corps Birthday Ball Remarks
Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto

On behalf of the United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, I am incredibly honored to wish the U.S. Marine Corps my personal congratulations on your 239th birthday.

One of my earliest childhood memories is that of my next-door neighbor, Mr. Parker, a U.S. Marine, who in the eyes of a 4 year old was big and strong, handsome, courageous, and the protector of not just our little neighborhood, but of the whole world. He was my hero. Now, here in Geneva, I am reminded often of Mr. Parker, because I have the pleasure of observing first-hand the extreme professionalism of our Marines serving at the U.S. Mission. Equally important, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know them personally, and I look forward to their formal yet friendly greetings every morning as I walk through the door.

This incredible group of nine young men hails from all over the United States: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, my home State of Hawaii, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. Despite coming from vastly different backgrounds, through serving here together, they have created a family away from home.

In preparing for this evening, I learned about the long-standing tradition of honoring the youngest Marine, Sargent Kennedy, and the oldest Marine, Major Bashor. This tradition of mentorship and celebrating a sense of history is important. It’s an inspiring reminder to all of us, to invest in our future, while respecting the past that has shaped us, which is of course fundamental to success in diplomacy.

In the words of a Navy man, Secretary of State John Kerry: “I have always appreciated the character, courage, and valor of the U.S. Marines. Marines serving around the world strive each and every day for the security and safety of our great nation. The sacrifice that comes with this duty, including unfortunately sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, will never be forgotten. From the war zone to the Pentagon to our Embassies and consulates, the Marines impress with dedication to the mission and to each other. Both past and present, in and out of uniform, Marines defend our way of democracy and freedom, and truly deserve the respect of all Americans.”

I couldn’t agree more. I know that my team at the Mission genuinely appreciates and values the many contributions the U.S. Marine Corps makes to U.S. Foreign Policy. We count on the Marines every day and they always deliver at the highest level. The successful two century-old partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Department of State is illustrated by the Marine Security Guard program. Together, we maintain a safe environment for the advancement of diplomacy.

Marines, when called upon, both abroad and at home, you are always prepared to defend our country. For 239 years, you have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty, and all of us are extremely grateful for everything that you do.

Happy Birthday, Marines!
And Semper Fidelis!

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