The Marines’ Hymn states that Marines “fight our country’s battles in air, on land and sea…” The Marine Corps emblem contains a spread eagle, a globe showing the Western Hemisphere, and a fouled anchor, depicting battle in air, on land and sea. This design is rooted in early Marine history. The fouled anchor and eagle trace back to ornaments of the early Continental Marines, and the globe traces back to a symbol of the British Royal Marines.
Originally a crested eagle, which is found around the world, was used in the emblem. The eagle and globe signify service all over the world. The first official Marine Corps emblem was approved in 1868. It also included a small ribbon held in the eagle’s beak with the Marine motto “Semper Fidelis.” This ribbon is omitted from uniform ornaments depicting the emblem.
In 1954, President Eisenhower approved the design for the official seal of the United States Marine Corps. The seal depicted the original emblem but with an American Bald Eagle instead of the crested eagle. A year later the emblem contained in the Marine Corps seal became the official Marine Corps emblem, replacing the very similar 1868 version. The American Bald Eagle is specific to North America, adding a more patriotic meaning to the emblem. This emblem is the one currently shown the Marine Corps Flag.
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