35 Famous Marine Corps Sayings About Death


The loss of a loved one may leave you at a loss for words. If you are struggling to know what to say about the recent death of your loved one who served in the Marines, consider using one of these quotes. We will include religious and secular quotes, and many of them could be used for the death of other types of service members.

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You might consider using one of these quotes in the eulogy or funeral program. They might also be helpful for a funeral slideshow. 

Marine Corps Quotes or Saying to Share a Veteran’s Funeral

Were you asked to speak at the funeral of a Marine? Here are some quotes by great thinkers that may help you convey your message if you are writing the eulogy for a veteran

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1. “Onward! Christian soldiers, Marching as to war, With the Cross of Jesus, Going on before.” – Sabine Baring-Gould

These are the lyrics of a hymn written in 1865. Winston Churchill chose this hymn to be used during a service on a battleship during World War II.

2. “War is the province of danger, and therefore courage above all things is the first quality of a warrior.” – Karl von Clausewitz

Karl von Clausewitz was a Prussian general who wrote “On War.”

3. “The soldier must always adapt himself to circumstances and exploit them.” – Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle was an army officer and statesman who served in France during World War II.

4. “I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that ‘old soldiers never die, they just fade away.’ And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away—an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye.” – Douglas MacArthur

These were General MacArthur’s words when he announced his retirement in 1951.

5. “However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.” – Douglas MacArthur

MacArthur made this statement when he spoke at West Point.

6. “Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?” – Dan Daly

Daly spoke these famous words to his platoon during the Battle of Belleau Wood in France.

7. “We triumph without glory when we conquer without danger.” – Pierre Corneille

Corneille was a French dramatist who wrote during the 1600s.

8. “See, the conquering hero comes! Sound the trumpets, beat the drums!” – Thomas Morell

These words are from the libretto for Handel’s oratorio.

9. “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.” – Winston Churchill

Churchill gave this speech in the House of Commons in May 1940. 

10. “A man of character finds a special attractiveness in difficulty, since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that he can realize his potentialities.” – Charles de Gaulle

Perhaps your loved one felt this way about their time in the military.

11. “The only gift is a portion of thyself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Soldiers are sometimes considered the ultimate servants. 

12. “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good things, therefore, that I can do, any kindness that I can show a fellow being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet

Grellet was a Quaker missionary.

13. “All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” – Danny Thomas

Use this quote at the funeral for a loved one who gave a lot to others during their life.

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14. “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

Coolidge was the 30th president of the United States.

15. “He gives nothing who does not give himself.” – French Proverb

How did your loved one serve their fellow humans?

16. “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” – Ruth Fishel

Fishel is the author of inspirational books.

17. “Courage takes many forms. There is physical courage. There is moral courage. Then there is a still higher type of courage – the courage to brave pain, to live with it, to never let others know of it, and to still find joy in life; to wake up in the morning with an enthusiasm for the day ahead.” – Howard Cosell

Cosell was a famed sports broadcaster. 

18. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Roosevelt served as the First Lady longer than any other woman.

19. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.” – Mark Twain

This is one of the few Twain quotes that don’t end in a joke.

20. “The Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand.”

Journalist Richard Harding Davis is said to have written this statement.

21. “Once a Marine, always a Marine!”

MSgt Paul Woyshner has been credited with this quote.

22. “A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago – there’s no such thing as a former Marine. You’re a Marine, just in a different uniform and you’re in a different phase of your life. But you’ll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There’s no such thing as a former Marine.” – General James F. Amos

This quote is similar to the previous one.

23. “I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world.” – General Douglas MacArthur

MacArthur made this remake outside Seoul in 1950.

24. “The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.” – George S. Patton Jr.

Patton was known for his service during World War II.

25. “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don’t have that problem.” – Ronald Reagan

We love this quote by Reagan.

26. “The Marine Corps has just been called by The New York Times, ‘The elite of this country.’ I think it is the elite of the world.” – Admiral William Halsey, Jr.

Halsey was a fleet admiral in the U.S. Navy.

27. “Marines don’t know how to spell the word ‘defeat.’” – Jim Mattis

After retiring from the Marines, Mattis served as the Secretary of the Defense. 

28. “It was the Marines who taught me how to act. After that, pretending to be rough wasn’t so hard.” – Lee Marvin

Lee Marvin starred in many westerns.

29. “Old breed? New breed? There’s not a damn bit of difference so long as it’s the Marine breed.” – Chesty Puller

Puller was an officer in the Marine Corps.

Inspiring Marine Corps Quotes or Sayings About Death

It may have been years since you wrote more than an email, and suddenly you find yourself writing something as important as a veteran’s obituary. Although an obituary doesn’t typically include famous quotes, here are a few to inspire you as you write. 

30. “Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,

Drawing no dividend from time’s tomorrows.” – Siegfried Sassoon

These words come from the poem “Dreamers.” Sassoon was a British poet.

31. “If I charge, follow me. If I retreat, kill me. If I die, revenge me.” – Unknown

This quote is said to be an unofficial motto of the Marine Corps.

32. “I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past.” – Cpl. Jeff Sornig

This quote was first published in the Navy Times.

33. “Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share.” – Ned Dolan

Dolan was a captain in the Marine Corps and a CIA officer.

34. “Marines die, that’s what we’re here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU will live forever.” – GySgt. Hartman

Remember this as you say goodbye to your loved one.

35. “My only answer as to why the Marines get the toughest jobs is because the average Leatherneck is a much better fighter. He has far more guts, courage, and better officers . . . These boys out here have pride in the Marine Corps and will fight to the end no matter what the cost.” – 2nd Lt. Richard C. Kennard

You probably already know, but “leatherneck” is a slang term for a member of the United States Marine Corps.

Saying Goodbye Is Hard

We hope we have helped you as you struggle to find the right words to say goodbye to your service member. For more help, consider looking at lists of funeral poems or quotes about death.


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