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United States Marine Corps’ 247 th Birthday Celebration
Ambassador Ken Salazar’s Remarks
November 5, 2022

Thank you, Drew, for your introduction.

It is a great honor for me to join you to pay our respects to the brave men and women of the Marine Corps.

As U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, this is a proud moment for me.  Proud because while we celebrate the 247th anniversary of its foundation, we thank Marines for their service, dedication, and commitment.

Quiero saludar al General de División Diplomado de Estado Mayor Celestino Ávila Astudillo, Comandante del Ejército Mexicano y al Vicealmirante José Manuel Salinas Pérez, Jefe de la Coordinador General de Infantería de Marina, y sus esposas.  Es un honor que nos acompañen.  Su presencia es un testimonio del trabajo conjunto entre las fuerzas armadas de Mexico y las de los Estados Unidos.

Somos dos naciones con un futuro compartido.  Por ello, como vecinos, socios y amigos, somos más fuertes juntos, más aún, cuando se trata de la seguridad de nuestros pueblos.  Por favor permítanme continuar en inglés.

I am glad to be joined by our special guests from the U.S. military this evening:

  • Brigadier General John Kelliher, III, Deputy Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Marine Forces Command, Marine Forces Northern Command
  • Colonel Andrew Leonard, Senior Defense Official for Mission Mexico
  • Sgt Yasmine Washington, Detachment Commander for the Marine Security Guards at Embassy Mexico City

This year we celebrate 200 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico.  We also celebrate the unbreakable bonds that unite our two countries, whether through military cooperation and shared security, the fact that 40 million Americans have Mexican roots, or the many other ways we our lives are intertwined on a daily basis.  We can stand confident knowing that our shared future is a secure one, and a brilliant one.

This is an event that everyone looks forward to at every post.  I am delighted we have the opportunity to come together as an Embassy community for such a special occasion in which we join to acknowledge the legacy of honor, courage and commitment of the Marine Corps.

For 247 years, even before we ratified our Constitution, the “few and the proud” have always been ready to respond.  Ready to serve our great nation without hesitation, guided by two powerful words: “semper fidelis”.  Always faithful to their country, their nation, and their brothers and sisters.

We join our fellow citizens in the United States and in many other parts of the world to thank the Marines for their service.  To thank them for their commitment to dedicate their lives to their service and their country.

Among their many responsibilities, there are a few which are key for U.S. diplomacy.  Marine Security Guards serve throughout the world to ensure the safety of Diplomatic Missions to conduct diplomacy abroad in a safe environment.  You are an integral part of Mission Mexico.  We all, in our Embassy community and our nine consulates, recognize your professionalism, vigilance, discipline, and traditions.  We are thrilled to celebrate alongside you as the nation’s force in readiness for 247 years.

The Marine Corps service goes beyond limits.  From the shores of Tripoli to Iwo Jima.  From Guadalcanal to the battle of Hue City.  And now, in the midst of all the uncertainty that we face around the world on a daily basis, Marines have put their country ahead of themselves to serve their fellow citizens and to protect our shared values.

I learned the profound meaning of service through my father’s example.  My father Henry served in World War II.  He was so proud to have served that he instructed us that when he passed away, he wanted to be buried with his uniform from World War II.  His service in the Army as Staff Sargent was one of the things he felt most proud of in his life.  As well, my mother Emma, made her way on a train from a distant ranch in Colorado to Washington, D.C. to go help and open the Pentagon.

Both of them gave me a great personal example of service and commitment to our country.  Their testimony of dedication and service, demonstrated by millions of other Americans, represents the pride with which Americans from all walks of life enlisted to serve as part of this glorious institution.

Once again, I would like to recognize the service of the Marine Corps to our great country and to the American people.  Your service and values give us hope no matter the challenges our country faces or complications you face.  Because, as President Biden said, our military represents the best of what our country has to offer.  You all represent the most profound legacy of service of the Marine Corps, and you have the privilege to call yourselves Marines and to wear the eagle, globe, and anchor.

I would like to thank you for everything you do for Mission Mexico and the American community in this country.  We all thank you for your service and we thank your families too.

Thank you so much and please enjoy your celebration!