The Thin Line of Tradition
The traditions of the Marine Corps, its history, its flags, its uniforms, its insignia—the Marine Corps way of doing things—make the Corps what it is [and set it distinctively apart from other military organizations and services].
These traditions give the Marine Corps its flavor, and are the reason why the Corps cherishes its past, its ways of acting and speaking, and its uniforms. These things foster the discipline, valor, loyalty, aggressiveness, and readiness, which make the term ” ‘Marine’ … signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.”
One writer on Marine traditions nailed down their importance in [the following] words: “As our traditions, our institutions, and even our eccentricities—like live coral—develop and toughen, so the Corps itself develops and toughens.”
And remember: whenever the Marine Corps is impoverished by the death of a tradition, you are generally to blame. Traditions are not preserved by books and museums, but by faithful adherence on the part of all hands—you especially.
—”The Marine Corps Officer’s Guide,” 1964 edition