From the U.S. Marine Corps press, in honor of their birthday:
The U.S. Marine Corps is the United States' military band of brothers dedicated to warfighting. The proud Brotherhood of Marines is guided by principles, values, virtues, love of country, and its Warrior Culture. This brotherhood of American Patriots has no song. Instead, Marine Warriors have a hymn. When The Marines' Hymn is played, United States Marines stand at attention. They silently show their pride in their fellow Marines, their Corps, their Country, their heritage, and their hymn.
The Marines' Hymn is a tribute to Warriors. Marine Warriors stormed fortress Derna, raised the American flag, and gave us "the shores of Tripoli." Marines fought their way into the castle at Chapultepec and gave us the "halls of Montezuma." Marines exist for the purpose of warfighting. Fighting is their role in life. They "fight for right and freedom" and "to keep our honor clean." They fight "in the air, on land, and sea." The Marine Corps is Valhalla for Warriors. U.S. Marines need no song. They have a hymn.
Ironically, no one knows who wrote the hymn, which was in widespread use by the mid-1800s. Col. A.S. McLemore, USMC, spent several years trying to identify the origin of the tune. 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! Regardless of its origin, The Marines' Hymn has remained a revered icon of the United States Marine Corps for almost 200 years.
In 1929 The Marines' Hymn became the official hymn of the Corps. Thirteen years later in November 1942 the Commandant approved a change in the words of the first verse, fourth line. Because of the increasing use of aircraft in the Corps, the words were changed to "In the air, on land, and sea." No other changes have been made since that time. When you have attained absolute perfection, there is no need for further modification:
From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the Shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of UNITED STATES MARINES.
Our flag's unfurled to every breeze,
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every 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.