#*&amp% Happens And Other Causes Of "Tradition"

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by Ed Mattson

 

Monday I opened up what I thought would be a can of worms prompting mail from veterans and members of the other branches of the military when I started wrting about why young men and women chose to join the Marine Corps. Without conscription every branch of military service has had to solicit volunteers, and the competition has certainly prompted recruiters to sell the benefits of their particular program with slick advertising campaigns, but it is tradition that keeps the Marine Corps strong.

Despite the fact that not everyone joins the military service for the same reason or comes away from it with the same positive results, the fact is that for most, a very high percentage say they are glad they served and most who have served say they would serve again if the need arose. This is even true for the Vietnam Veteran era military, which upon returning home from the war were treated by many as less than second class citizens; spat on and called “baby killers“. The statistic regarding military service in the Sixties is probably typical however, for the military today though back then there was the element of conscription where 25% were drafted (by contrast 63% of those serving in WWII were draftees and 54% for the Korean War). 91% say they were glad they served and 74% say they would go again if called.

Throughout my time as a volunteer project coordinator with the National Guard International Bureau developing humanitarian and disaster relief projects I have had the opportunity to work with many in The Guard who have served in multiple branches of the service, some serving in every branch over a thirty-year period. While each tells their own story, those who have served in the Marine Corps say they did so because of its traditions. There are no pretensions about The Corps; those who join do so knowing, in most cases, they will be the first to fight.

According to Tom McLeod, Museum of the Pacific Historian, 1st Marine Division Association, the emblem of The Corps, the eagle, globe and anchor, symbolize all that marines hold dear:

EAGLE Wings: Spread over the globe, the wings are the symbol of a proud nation. We are a land of justice and freedom loving people, ever reluctant to make war, but ever ready to fight for preservation of, or freedom for oppressed people.

The GLOBE: This is worldwide proof of America’s history, which under a democratic government, men can have justice and be free. It is symbolic of the area covered by Marines in service. “Our flag is unfurled to every breeze, from dawn to setting sun. We have fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun.”

The ANCHOR: The anchor is symbolic of the close association between U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, on whose ships Marines have fought with skill and valor. The anchor is also a symbol of steadfast faithfulness, even unto death. Marines have always defended American principles, ideals and territory.

The Marine Corps Hymn, adopted in 1929, typifies everything about The Corps. No one knows who wrote it, but it was in widespread use by the mid-1800s. Col. A.S. McLemore spent several years trying to identify its origin but could only trace the origins of the melody. In 1878 he told the leader of the Marine Band that the tune had been adopted from the comic opera Genevieve de Barbant, by Jaques Offenback. Yet, others believe the tune originated from a Spanish folk song. Whatever! As to the lyrics there isn’t even a clue.

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Regardless of its origin, The Marines’ Hymn has remained a revered icon of the United States Marine Corps for almost 200 years… This my friends is tradition and means “I don’t know…#*@& just happens“, the origins of that phrase are much easier to define and can be traced back to an 18th century philosopher, David Hume (1711-1776) who uttered the phrase (This, of course, is worthy of its own article in the near future).

The lyrics of the The Marine Corps Hymn are historically accurate and tell how traditions become traditions. Courage and bravery under fire has been exemplified throughout the history of our nation but exhibited by Marines in every war.
The Shores of Tripoli: Pirate ships and crews from the North Africa’s Berber states making up the Barbary Coast, although nominally governed by the Ottoman Empire, were the scourge of the Mediterranean. They captured merchant ships and enslaved or ransomed their crews which provided the Muslim rulers of these nations with wealth and power.
After the first seizure of an American merchant ship, the brigantine Betsey, Thomas Jefferson, decided to send envoys to Morocco and Algeria to try to purchase treaties and the freedoms of the captured sailors held by Algeria. Morocco was the first Barbary Coast state to sign a treaty with the U.S. on June 23, 1786. This treaty formally ended all Moroccan piracy against American shipping interests. Specifically, Article 6 of the treaty states that if any captured Americans, be it done by Moroccans or by other Barbary Coast states dock at a Moroccan city, said Americans would be set free and be under the protection of the Moroccan state.

American diplomatic action with Algeria, the other major Barbary Coast states, was much less successful than with Morocco. Algeria began piracy against the U.S. on July 25, 1785 with the capture of the schooner Maria and the Dauphin a week later. The crews of the Maria and Dauphin remained in captivity for over a decade, and soon were joined by the crews of other ships captured by the Barbary States. In 1795, Algeria came to an agreement with the U.S. that resulted in the release of 115 sailors they held, but at the cost of over $1 million.

The problems went on for years with the continuing demand for tribute (ransom) and ultimately led to the formation of the United States Department of the Navy, in 1798. This would eventually lead to war with the US, as American civilians were pushing for direct action by the government to stop the piracy against U.S. ships. Jefferson became President in 1801 and argued that paying tribute would encourage more attacks. As in today’s political climate, the debate to go to war between Federalist and Anti-Federalist forces hinged on the burden of taxation for a new nation.

Even Jefferson’s own Democratic-Republicans believed that the future of the country lay in westward expansion, and did not want to see conflict thousands of miles away in some remote part of the world (sound familiar?).

Without a formal declaration of war, Jefferson sent a small force to the area to protect American ships and citizens against potential aggression by the Barbary pirates, insisting that he was unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense. Although Congress never voted on a formal declaration of war, they did authorize the President to instruct the commanders of armed American vessels to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli “and also to cause to be done all such other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war will justify.”

On the night of February 16, 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a small contingent of the U.S.’s first Marines in the captured Tripolitan shipped renamed, USS Intrepid, to deceive the guards on board the captured US ship, Philadelphia. Decatur’s men stormed the vessel and overpowered the guard, and with support from other American ships, set fire to Philadelphia, denying her use to the enemy. The British Admiral Horatio Nelson, himself known as a man of action and bravery, is said to have called this “the most bold and daring act of the time”.

The turning point in the war came with the Battle of Derna (April–May 1805). Ex-consul William Eaton and US Marine First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon led a mixed force of eight United States Marines and 500 Greeks from the island of Crete, to assault and capture the Tripolitan city of Derna. This was the first time in history that the United States flag was raised in victory on foreign soil… hence “the shores of Tripoli.”

The halls of Montezuma: Every American has heard of the Alamo, and many have heard the word “Montezuma”, most often uttered as revenge from drinking non-potable water in Mexico. Marines know of Montezuma from the Marine Corps hymn, but most don’t know the story behind the words.

In 1847, Army Gen. Winfield Scott, commanding general, sent American troops including a contingency of Marines, to attack Mexico City. In one of the most historic battles of the Mexican War, Marines secured the Halls of Montezuma which can best be described as the site of Santa Anna’s encampment whose west side was guarded by the Hill of Chapultepec. It was 600 yards wide by 200 feet high surrounded by a 12-foot wall with a school that was once a palace topping the hill… a near impenetrable fortress to assault.

Army Brig. Gen. John Quitman led the 4th Division, which included the Marines. The assault of 120 handpicked Marines and soldiers attacked the fortress, fighting hand-to-hand with bayonets as they struggled up the steep hill. The battle ensued at 8 AM on September 13 and lasted for 1-1/2 hours before the Marines could reach the castle and raise the American flag over the fortress at 9:30 AM.

During the battle at Chapultepec, 90 percent of the Marine officers and non-commissioned officers who fought were killed. After the war, Marine commissioned and non-commissioned officers added scarlet stripes to their blue dress trousers, which are now referred to as “blood stripes,” to commemorate the Marines’ whose blood was shed at Chapultepec.

Much of what makes up Marine Corps tradition is folklore, but if you’ve been around Marines long enough or have read W.E.B. Griffins best-selling novels on the Marine Corps, you’ll probably reach the conclusion that even in folklore, most of it is true. Nothing says it better than this quote posted on a website posted by Thomas A Leigh-Kendall:

“I am a United States Marine
My commander is The President of the States of America.
My duty is to serve the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
To protect The Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence,
And the Constitution of the United States of America.
My allegiance is to United States Citizens
I serve to keep our freedom alive and well.
I have two colors; Marine GREEN, and Marine Blood, RED
There is no yellow, black or brown in our ranks, just GREEN.
We do not muddle in politics it’s not in our MOS.
We vote, we fight for that right.
We support the elected no matter whom.
I have one flag- color; red white and blue.
One banner: the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.
If you are not issued it, you don’t need it.
My work tool is a weapon;
It’s my major duty to know it well.
Treat it like my right arm,
To keep those who have served before us, proud.
To be at 110% 24/7.
We pledge our allegiance to God and Country,
Our Lives to the United States Marine Corps”

Gung Ho and Semper Fidelis

Kohl’s Opens 48 Department Stores in Week, Some Older Locations Struggle. in our site kohls printable coupons

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News October 13, 2003 By Doris Hajewski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Oct. 13–The Kohl’s Department Store chain grew by 8.8 percent this week, with ribbon-cuttings at 48 new stores at far-flung locations from Phoenix to Albany, N.Y.

With the openings, the Menomonee Falls-based retailer now owns 542 stores, employs more than 82,000 people and expects annual revenue to hit $10.6 billion by year’s end.

Along with the growth, though, Kohl’s faces tougher challenges.

Regarded as the retail darling of Wall Street in recent years, Kohl’s has found itself this year in the uncomfortable position of having to explain downturns in same-store sales and earnings.

News reports have questioned whether the bloom is off the Kohl’s bouquet, and analysts’ reports have turned from explaining Kohl’s success to looking at what’s wrong.

“It’s hard to tell, to separate, what are economic-influenced situations and what are company specific situations,” said Jay Van Cleave, a portfolio manager with Loomis Sayles & Co. “We’re certainly paying close attention.” In the past, Kohl’s executives bragged that their mid-market strategy was bulletproof, drawing lower-end shoppers upward in good times and providing an affordable alternative to the more affluent in bad times.

But since last fall, when Kohl’s monthly same-store sales results started trending down along with much of the retail industry, many analysts have decided that the company was no longer immune to downturns in the economy.

This week, Kohl’s reported a 5.5 percent gain in same-store sales for September, against a negative 3.2 percent comparison from September 2002. The 5.5 percent, while a respectable number, was a tad short of the 5.8 percent average expectation of analysts reporting to Thomson Financial/First Call, in a month when many other retailers exceeded projections.

Kohl’s has said it expects a 3 percent sales gain for the third quarter. To make its plan, Kohl’s will need to achieve a flat sales comparison this month against an 18 percent gain last October.

“The main challenge is the economy,” said David Cumberland, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co.

The biggest reason for Kohl’s phenomenal success, industry experts say, was its “better mousetrap” — a combination of good prices, brand names and convenient locations.

Now that Kohl’s has moved across the country, the competition has taken note and is reacting.

“Kohl’s competitive landscape is tougher and its competitors have improved,” Banc of America Securities analyst Dana Cohen said in a recent report.

Some of the Gap Inc.’s recent rebound has been at Kohl’s expense, Cohen wrote. Old Navy management never walked its competitors’ stores, nor did they do market research in the past, Cohen wrote. Now they do, and they say Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney are the stores they need to beat.

Kohl’s also faces challenges from mass retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, who draw regular traffic with their consumable products — food items, paper products and personal hygiene items, Cumberland said. At the same time, the apparel category, which makes up the lion’s share of Kohl’s merchandise, has declined a bit as unemployment has risen, he said.

Part of the reason for Kohl’s slower sales growth is simply a mathematical consequence of the company’s larger size, analysts point out. As sales volume increases, it becomes more difficult to achieve a double-digit growth comparison. go to site kohls printable coupons

Cohen also mentions merchandise issues as a factor in Kohl’s recent lackluster performance. The retailer’s “Get It” and “Table and Tower” programs of recent years added to sales momentum, Cohen wrote in her report. But, she notes, there has been no new program or brand launch to continue to drive business.

Linda Kristiansen, an analyst with UBS Securities, suggests that Kohl’s has a fashion deficit in women’s apparel.

“The women’s business continues to lag after several years of pacing sales growth,” Kristiansen wrote in a report Thursday, adding that this was a key reason for Kohl’s “somewhat disappointing” September sales.

All of those criticisms notwithstanding, investors and customers still have a lot of confidence in Kohl’s.

In a shopper survey conducted earlier this year by Leo J. Shapiro & Associates for Chain Store Age and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Kohl’s was the favorite choice by East Coast shoppers in several categories, including ease of shopping, price, product assortment, service, an enjoyable shopping experience and trust.

The survey’s authors attribute Kohl’s success in the consumer survey, with 15 top ratings, in part to Kohl’s growth.

“In areas where they were almost invisible the year before, they were a force,” said Michael Roberts, a retail analyst with Cap Gemini Ernst & Young in New York. Convenience is Kohl’s strong suit, Roberts said, noting that 58 percent of the shoppers polled gave Kohl’s an “A” in the ease of access category.

The new store openings last week put Kohl’s into several new markets: Phoenix, with 13 stores; Las Vegas, with three stores; Virginia Beach, Va.; Albany, N.Y.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Little Rock, Ark. The rest of the 48 stores are fill-in stores in areas where Kohl’s already operates.

Analysts who follow Kohl’s stock continue to give it high ratings. Of the analysts reporting to Thomson Financial/First Call last week, 12 rate the stock a strong buy, six peg it as a buy, six recommend holding Kohl’s shares and one recommends selling it.

“We’re still positive on Kohl’s and think they are playing with a very strong hand while they’re competitors have weaker hands,” said Van Cleave, whose firm owns the stock.

“Kohl’s is still well-positioned against traditional department stores,” Cumberland said, noting the woes of May Co. Department Stores, a St. Louis chain that is closing 32 of its underperforming Lord & Taylor stores. Mervyns, a California-based division of Target that was the model for Kohl’s format in the 1980s, also continues to struggle.

Cumberland has an outperform rating on Kohl’s shares, the highest of Baird’s three ranks.

“There are signs that momentum is starting to rebuild there,” Cumberland said. “The market eventually will look past October and anticipate a better trend for Kohl’s.” KSS, GPS, BAC, WMT, TGT, CAP, TOC, MAY,

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