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History of the Marines' Hymn Cont

Every campaign the Marines have taken part in gives birth to an unofficial verse. For example, the following from Iceland:

"Again in nineteen forty-one We sailed a north'ard course And found beneath the midnight sun, The Viking and the Norse. The Iceland girls were slim and fair, And fair the Iceland scenes, And the Army found in landing there, The United States Marines."

Copyright ownership of the Marines' Hymn was vested in the United States Marine Corps per certificate of registration dated August 19, 1991 but is now in the public domain. In 1929, the Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the following verses of the Marines' Hymn as the official version:

"From the Halls of Montezuma To the Shores of Tripoli; We fight our country's battles On the land as on the sea; First to fight for right and freedom And to keep our honor clean; We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.

"Our flag's unfurled to every breeze From dawn to setting sun; We have fought in ev'ry clime and place Where we could take a gun; In the snow of far-off Northern lands And in sunny tropic scenes; You will find us always on the job-- The United States Marines.

"Here's health to you and to our Corps Which we are proud to serve In many a strife we've fought for life And never lost our nerve;

If the Army and the Navy Ever look on Heaven's scenes; They will find the streets are guarded By United States Marines."


On November 21, 1942, the Commandant of the Marine Corps approved a change in the words of the fourth line, first verse, to read, "In air, on land, and sea."

Former-Gunnery Sergeant H.L. Tallman, veteran observer in Marine Corps Aviation who participated in many combat missions with Marine Corps Aviation over the Western Front in World War I, first proposed the change at a meeting of the First Marine Aviation Force Veterans Association in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Many interesting stories have been associated with the Marines' Hymn. One of the best was published in the Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the AEF, under date of August 16, 1918.

"A wounded officer from among the gallant French lancers had just been carried into a Yankee field hospital to have his dressing changed. He was full of compliments and curiosity about the dashing contingent that fought at his regiment's left."

"'A lot of them are mounted troops by this time,' he explained, 'for when our men would be shot from their horses, these youngsters would give one running jump and gallop ahead as cavalry. I believe they are soldiers from Montezuma. At least, when they advanced this morning, they were all singing "From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli".'"

The Marines' Hymn has been sung and played in all of the four corners of the earth and today is recognized as one of the foremost service songs