Marines celebrate 241st birthday in Philadelphia [photos]

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Philadelphia is honoring the Marines in the city where it all started.

At ceremonies outside the Municipal Services Building Thursday, Fred LeClair of the Marine Corps League described the very beginning in 1775.

“Eighteen days after the Congress authorized the Marines, John Hancock appointed Samuel Nicholas the first captain of the marines,” he said.  Nicholas “recruited all the Marines, trained them and equipped them, and took them on their first amphibious battle in the Bahamas, raising our country’s flag on foreign soil.”

Mayor Jim Kenney, who presided over the ceremonies that included slicing a massive cake with a sword, said everyone owes a debt of gratitude to the marines and their long legacy.

“We thank you for your service, and all that you have done for your country and our city, and for those who are not with us today,” Kenney said. “We must work hard to preserve everything that they worked hard for so that their sacrifice is not in vain.”

About 100 veterans took part in the service, standing at attention as they sang the Marines Hymn.

Kenney greeted all in attendance and praised those who died defending their country.

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