U.S. Marines Birthplace Memorial Design
Ask any Marine about the U.S. Marine Corps in general, and you are likely to get much more information than you bargained for: With its history, customs, personal experiences, training, etc. Ask any U.S. Marine the names of their Drill Instructors, and you will get every single one. Ask any Marine, young or old, where the birthplace of the Marine Corps is, and you will get an immediate response of "Tun Tavern." Ask any Marine for the birth date of the Marine Corps and youíll quickly be told "November 10, 1775."
Marines have a profound respect for their origins and an unmistakable pride in their history.
This Memorial has been created in honor of Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps. Numerous aspects of the Memorialís design are representations of the history, traditions and ideology of the Marine Corps itself. To begin with, the Memorial has an upward procession of the surrounding site towards the center of the Memorial, giving the visitor the sense that the Memorial is being born from the ground on which it lies. This upward procession also implies ascension from the mundane at street level up to the more sacred space of the Memorial site.
Many of the components of the Memorial are symbolic in nature. Each granite panel and metal column combination are intended to inspire the image of a member of a rifle firing detail. Seven such combinations comprise the Memorial and form the firing detail paying respects to our fallen brothers and sisters. The steel beam painted "Marine Green" links each of these members together, denoting strength and unity. The use of the two sets of seven panels in the front and back side of the Memorial and the seven sets of footprints symbolizes the seven seas and the Corps naval traditions. The circular nature of the plan is also symbolic of a never ending global tradition and the unbreakable bond between Marines past, present and future.
"Once a Marine, Always a Marine."
The placement of the yellow footprints around the perimeter of the Memorial are representative of those seen at both Marine Corps Recruit Depots in Parris Island, SC and San Diego, CA. The yellow footprints are the very first place a Marine stands on his or her journey to becoming a U.S. Marine, and are thus the birthplace of individual Marines. The panels in front of the yellow footprints have images of Marines in uniform from different eras. Again, the Marine Green steel beam links all of these images together, forming one Corps regardless of era.
The line in the center entrance walkway is an axis line from the Memorial to the historical location of the original Tun Tavern, which is no longer standing. The star at the end of this axis line symbolizes the United States of America. The center panel facing inboard also lies on the axis line. This panel has an image of Tun Tavern engraved on it. The engraved wording below the Tun Tavern image is the resolution of the Continental Congress authorizing the birth and formation of the Marine Corps:
The materials used to model and build the Memorial were chosen with purpose. The granite, steel and concrete are all materials that are very much like the Corps, simple, pure, strong and long lasting. Like the men and women of the U.S. Marine Corps. The solid red granite information panels facing the center of the Memorial are "Wausau Red" granite, which is supplied by Anderson Brothers & Johnson and Michels Corporation in Brownsville, Wisconsin. The solid blue/gray granite panels facing outward are "Robin Blue/Gray" granite, which is supplied by Boyd Granite Company, Inc. in Elberton, Georgia.