What are the words to the Marine Corps hymn?


Quick Answer

The words of the Marine Corps hymn begin with "From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli; we fight our country's battles in the air, on land, and sea." The complete lyrics, tune and history of the hymn are described on the Marine Corps website, located at HQMC.Marines.mil.

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What are the words to the Marine Corps hymn?
Credit: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

The Marine Corps hymn is the oldest official song in the U.S. Military and holds an important place in the Marine Corps' culture and tradition. Marines memorize all three stanzas and stand at attention to sing the hymn at special events. The opening lines are a tribute to battles won by the marines in the First Barbary War and the Mexican-American War.

While nobody knows the original author, Marine Corps legend credits the lyrics to a marine on duty in Mexico during the 19th century. The music that accompanies the words is from a 19th century opera by Jacques Offenbach called Geneviève de Brabant.

The Marine Corps first copyrighted the hymn in 1919. In 1929, the Commandant of the Marine Corps made minor changes to the first stanza and authorized it as the official version. One additional change in 1942 acknowledged the growing importance of air capabilities to the USMC mission.

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