You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be.
"This is my rifle. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy, who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will... My rifle and I know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit... My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will... Before God I swear this creed: my rifle and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen."
"Semper Fi!", which is shortened from Semper Fidelis (Latin for "Always Faithful").
"Forgiveness is between them and God. It's our job to arrange the meeting."
"Once A Marine, Always A Marine."
"To err is human; to forgive, divine. Neither is Marine Corps policy."
"Warrior by day, lover by night, drunkard by choice, Marine by the grace of God."
"If the Army and the Navy ever gaze on Heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines." Boy, these guys have a lot of creeds.
That one gets bonus points for being a lyric in the Marine Corps Hymn.
A much more understated one from the Marines: every Marine a rifleman. And it's true. Unlike any of the other American service branches, the Marines make everyone in their uniform go through full basic and qualify as an infantryman. That includes the lawyers who work for JAG, the musicians who play for the band, the doctors, everyone. They all went through Training from Hell to become combat soldiers, even if what they do has nothing to do with combat.
The saying is "You join the Army to learn a specialization. You join the Navy to hang out in Pattaya. You join the Air Force to go to computing college. You join the Marine Corps to fight." note As usual, the Coast Guard doesn't get a look in.
In their training, every Marine must memorize and be able to recite verbatim "The mission of the Marine rifle squad is to LOCATE, CLOSE WITH, and DESTROY the enemy by fire and maneuver, or to repel his assault by fire and close combat." — even the doctrine can be a badass creed.
Also: "Hard things we can do right away. Impossible things may take a bit longer."
2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division: "Retreat, Hell!" (as in: "Retreat? Like Hell we will!")
The US Navy's Sailor's Creed:
"I am a United States Sailor. I will support the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me. I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who came before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world. I proudly serve my country's naval combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment. I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all."
They have a pair of unofficial mottoes: "Strength and Honor" and Non sibi sed patriae ("Not for self but for country")
US Navy Operations Specialist motto: "In God We Trust, All Others We Track"
The Office of Naval Research has a wing devoted to bringing railguns◊ out of the realm of science fiction. Their motto: Velocitas Eradico ("Speed Destroys")
From a US Navy recruitment campaign: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of all who threaten it."
US Navy SEALs don't advertise, but they are fond of saying "The only easy day was yesterday."
"I am a Coast Guardsman. I serve the people of the United States. I will protect them. I will defend them. I will save them. I am their shield. For them I am always ready. I live the Coast Guard core values. I am proud to be a Coast Guardsman. We are the United States Coast Guard."
The official motto is Semper Paratus ("Always Ready")—for drug smugglers, for hurricanes, for burning oil slicks, for swimming in seas one degree above ice, etc.
How long have you been in the Coast Guard?
All me bloomin' life, shipmate!
Me father was King Neptune, me mother was a mermaid
I was born on de crest of a wave, and rocked in de cradle of the deep!
Me eyes is stars, me teeth is spars, me hair is hemp and seaweed
and when I spits *spit* I spits tar!
I's tough, I is, I am, I are, shipmate!
There's also the unofficial mottoes lampshading the Coast Guard's frequent lack of funding: "Do more with less," Semper Gumby (always flexible), "Adapt, improvise, and overcome"
More to the point, considering what they do: "You have to go out. You don't have to come back."
"I am an American Soldier. I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade.* These four sentences are known as the "Warrior Ethos" and are often quoted by themselves as a separate creed unto itself. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Soldier." Hooah (Common, though not part of the creed itself)
The Army motto, from the seal: "This We'll Defend."
There's the very first one that they ever used: "Don't Tread On Me."
The Infantryman's Creed:
"I am the Infantry. I am my country's strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight — wherever, whenever. I carry America's faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be — the best trained soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country's trust. Always I fight on — through the foe, to the objective, to triumph over all. If necessary, I fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, for I am mentally tough,physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!"
US Army Combat Arms training:
"Men? We're not men, we're animals, and you made us this way! We don't eat; we don't sleep; all we do is dress-right-dress-right-dress! Straight between the second and third ribs — kill!" Also said in response to being called 'soldiers' or 'ladies'.
75th Ranger Regiment: Sua Sponte ("Of Their Own Accord")
The Ranger's Creed:
Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment. Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other soldier. Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some. Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow. Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country. Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor. Rangers Lead The Way!!!
Military Police Corps: "Of the troops, For the troops. Assist, Protect, Defend."
The Code of Conduct governing American military personnel as POWs:
"I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command I will never surrender my men while they still have the means to resist. If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause. I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America."
The U.S. Air Force's Airman's Creed:
I am an American Airman. I am a Warrior. I have answered my Nation's call. I am an American Airman. My mission is to Fly, Fight, and Win. I am faithful to a Proud Heritage, A Tradition of Honor, And a Legacy of Valor. I am an American Airman, Guardian of Freedom and Justice, My nation's sword and shield, Its sentry and avenger. I defend my country with my life. I am an American Airman; Wingman, Leader, Warrior. I will never leave an Airman behind, I will never falter, And I will not fail.
Their motto: "Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win"
Pararescue: "That Others May Live."
The whole thing: "It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save life and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, that others may live."
CIA's counterintelligence division has a variant: "In God we trust, all others we polygraph."
From the US Merchant Marine: acta, non verba ("act, don't talk")
Informally, various US special operations units have had their personnel adopt this adaptation of a well-known psalm:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for I am the baddest motherfucker in the whole damn valley.
A SR-71 base in Kadena, Japan had a different variation on this at their entrance:
Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing.
Soviet and then Russian Marines: "Where we are, there's victory."
Also "We're few in number, but we wear telnyashkas!" (telnyashka being a striped sailor shirt)
Soviet and then Russian Airborne Forces: "Nobody but us!"
Soviet war cry in World War II: "For the Motherland! For Stalin!"
The 11th and 12th Century Crusaders: Deus le vult ("God wills it"). Since they regularly pulled off victories that should have been impossible, they may have felt this was justified.
The motto of certifiable Bad Ass, Richard the Lionheart: Dieu et Mon Droit. It is translated many ways, one of which is "God and my right hand". Basically, all I need is my right hand and God. Sometimes translated as "God and my right", meaning that the speaker has a God given right to rule. It is the current motto of the British Royal Family.
William III's slogan of the Glorious Revolution of 1689 (in England): "For the Protestant Religion and the Liberty of England I Will Maintain."
The Royal Navy has gone through a fair few of these:
The Royal Navy of England has ever been her greatest defence and ornament - its ancient and natural strength, the floating bulwarks of our island.
Hearts of oak are our ships, hearts of oak are our men.
Which is a line from the Royal Navy's official march, dating back to the 18th century.
Britain's best bulwarks are her wooden walls.
The current one is Si vis pacem, para bellum ("If you wish for peace, prepare for war")
SBS (the SAS but on the sea): "By Strength and Guile"
The Sea Cadet Corps: "Ready, Aye Ready"
SAS: "Who Dares, Wins."
The DC comic book Hitman by Garth Ennis actually used Who Dares Wins as the title of one of its trade paperbacks, where a squad of British SAS soldiers is hired to kill the titular character and his friend (because of a friendly fire incident in the Gulf War).
The RAF: "Rise Above The Rest". Simple and to the point.
Another RAF one: Per Ardua Ad Astra ("Through Adversity to the Stars")
The Royal Air Force Regiment: Per Ardua ("Through Adversity")
617 Squadron "The Dambusters": Après Moi Le Déluge ("After Me the Flood")
Air Training Corps (ATC): "Venture Adventure"
The British Army: "Be The Best".
The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding): Virtutis Fortuna Comes ("Fortune Favours The Bold"). Considering this regiment was so Badass that the Duke, himself no slacker in the Badass rankings, once said of them "I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me", it's safe to say they were seriously fucking Badass.
The Rifles: Celer et Audax ("Swift and Bold"). Since they almost always march at 140 paces per minute, 20 more than the rest of the British Army, they may have a point.
Originally from the 95th Rifle Regiment of the Napoleonic Wars: "First on the field, and last off it."
The motto of the Royal Marines is wonderfully simple and understated: Per Mare, Per Terram ("By Sea, By Land"). Referring to where you will be fucked up from.
Also, unofficially "first in, last out", which has proven accurate because of both their amphibious role and lately their role as one of the British "spearhead" units that rotate 24 hour worldwide notice to move between them, the Paras and the Rifles.
Your mind is a weapon. A blanket against cold. A shield against fear. It can beat heat, overcome hunger, eradicate pain. You can train your body, turn soft flesh into hard muscle. But if you want to know what it takes to earn the green beret...start with what's under it.
Canada's Black Watch uses the classic Nemo Me Impune Lacessit ("No one provokes me with impunity")
It's worth noting that this is because the Black Watch are a Scots regiment, and this is the motto of Scotland itself - most frequently rendered as "Wha daur meddle wi' me?"
This particular Badass Creed is inscribed around the edge of Scottish-issue pound coins, along with various others from the other nations making up the UK on their respective versions.
This particular Badass Creed was employed in Poe's The Cask of Amontillado: Montresor reminds Fortunato of this, his family's motto, before bricking him into a niche as revenge for an insult.
Their elite Special forces, the Joint Task Force 2 has Facta Non Verba AKA "Deeds, not words." Considering these guys are considered rather secretive special forces groups.
While we're on the topic of the Canadian Military, let us not forget the motto of the Canadian Forces' Intelligence Branch: E Tenebris Lux ("From the Darkness, Light").
The code of bushido practiced by the samurai of ancient Japan.
"Death is lighter than a feather. Duty is heavier than a mountain."
The Samurai Creed, written by an anonymous 13th century samurai:
I have no parents; I make Heaven and Earth my parents. I have no home; I make the Tan T'ien my home. I have no life and death; I make the tides of breathing my life and death. I have no divine power; I make honesty my divine power. I have no means; I make understanding my means. I have no magic secrets; I make character my magic secret. I have no body; I make endurance my body. I have no eyes; I make the flash of lightning my eyes. I have no ears; I make sensibility my ears. I have no limbs; I make promptness my limbs. I have no strategy; I make “unshadowed by thought” my strategy I have no designs; I make opportunity my design. I have no miracles; I make right action my miracle. I have no principles; I make adaptability my principles. I have no tactics; I make emptiness and fullness my tactics. I have no talents; I make ready wit my talent. I have no friends; I make my mind my friend. I have no enemy; I make carelessness my enemy. I have no armor; I make Benevolence my armor. I have no castle; I make Immovable Mind my castle. I have no sword; I make No Mind my sword.
Mossad: Proverbs 11:4: "Where there is no guidance a nation falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
Formerly Proverbs 24:6: "Through misdirection/wise guidance, thou shalt do war."
The unofficial motto of the Israeli anti-aircraft units (supposedly full of flight school dropouts): "If I don't get to fly, NO ONE gets to fly."
The Badass Boast "Come and take them" of Leonidas at Thermopylae, when asked to give up his weapons, is currently the Badass Creed of the Greek First Army Corps, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).
In a similar vein, the epitaph above a World War I trench where the Devonshire Regiment fought a particularly fierce battle, and which was subsequently used as a mass grave for them:
The Devonshires held this trench. The Devonshires hold it still.
Sri Lankan Special Forces: "Determined, Dared and Done"
Singapore Guards Formation: "Ready to Strike", Commando Formation: "Honour & Glory", Singapore Combat Engineers: "Advance and Overcome"
As a former British colony, Singapore's Special Operations Force's (SOF) creed also answers the SAS' creed: "We Dare".
The Dahomey Amazons, an all-female army that kicked ass for almost three centuries:
"We are men not women. Those coming back from war without having conquered must die. If we beat a retreat our life is at the king's mercy. Whatever town is to be attacked we must overcome it or we bury ourselves in its ruins. [Current ruler] is the king of kings. As long as he lives we have nothing to fear."
The 1st Sount Ranger Regiment, the Philippine Army's primary special forces unit, has a very blunt and simple motto: "We Strike". It has better impact in Filipino, though.
Its airborne equivalent, the The 1st Special Forces Regiment (Airborne), has "Strike Anywhere". Philippine special forces men are apparently men of few words.
The Rats of Tobruk, the Australian soldiers who held Tobruk for eight months against Rommel during World War II: "No surrender".
Inspired by the Maori, the New Zealand Army got a Haka composed specifically for them. Tu Taua a Tumatauenga.
The New Zealand Army as a whole has a Badass Creed: Ngāti Tumatauenga ("The Tribe of the God of War")
487 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force: Ki Te Mutunga (Maori for "Staying Until it Ends")
The battle cry of the Almogavars, a group of Spanish mercenaries that were around during the 13th and 14th centuries, which translated as:
Deep is our blow, our wrath invincible we have no mercy, no homeland Our fortunes are at the tip of our swords our hearts may not give in Our war cry rings, enchanting the country which is severing its chains Our defiance may not tire until the nation of Finland is free.
"No friend is left behind." This motto was used during the Winter and the Continuation Wars. It applied both in life and in death - Finns never used any mass graves, all the dead were sent back to their hometowns. No friend was left behind, not even a dead one.
"One Shot, One Kill" - Almost every sniper who has ever lived works to uphold this.
Also La Legion meurt, elle ne se rend pas ("The Legion dies, it does not surrender")
And unofficial, Marche ou crève! ("March or die!"). It seems these FFL guys are pretty fatalistic.
And officially, Legio Patria Nostra. This can be translated as either "The Legion is my Country" or "The Legion is my Father".
Italian forces, despite having been thought as little more of comic relief during WW2 (mostly because of inept high officers or insufficient logistical structure), have a long story of desperate battles where they were defeated to the last man, or where they snatched away victory with daring awesomeness, crazy manly bravery, or innovative thinking. They have their share of badass creeds:
The Carabinieri (one of the four Italian armed forces): Nei secoli fedele ("Faithful through the centuries").
The Aeronautica Militare (another of the four armed Forces): Virtute Siderum Tenus (Latin for: "With bravery, [we go] until we'll reach the stars" or "With bravery, the stars are our only limit")
The two Mountain Brigades, the Alpini: Di qui non si passa! ("From here, none shall pass!" - a reference to the Alpini's role in guarding the Alps, the only way to reach Italy overland)
The Folgore ("Thunderbolt") Airborne Brigade: Come folgore dal cielo, come nembo di tempesta ("Like lightning from the skies, like storming clouds").
Each warrior society of the Sioux Nations had their own Badass Creed. The Kit Fox one loses nothing in the translation to English...
I am a Fox.
I am supposed to die.
If there is anything difficult, if there is anything dangerous,
That is mine to do.
The motto of the Elliots, a Scottish reiver clan, is simply "Wha' daur meddle wi' me?" (Who dares meddle with me?)
Well for them failure means something blowing up, in a way it's not supposed to instead of the way they're trying to make it blow up.
More seriously, this refers to the experimental process. Any result that yields useful data is a good result, even if it doesn't fall in line with expectations. Hence, failure (to replicate the circumstances of the myth) is always an option.
The United States Postal Service: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." note This motto is carved on the facade of the central post office in New York City. Someone once climbed up there with a spray can and wrote underneath "So what is it, then?"
"They say neither snow nor sleet will stop the Postman. Who the hell do you think gets him to his rounds?? New. York. City. F—-in'. Transit. Going YOUR way."
"Come hell or high water, the mail must go through!" Certainly not official, but much more Bad Ass.
While the mottos of Canada and most of the provinces are sweeping and boastful (Canada: A Mari Usque Ad Mare, rendered in English as "From Sea to Shining Sea"; British Columbia: Splendor Sine Occasu, best translated as "Splendor Undiminished") Quebec's motto is the chilling Je me souviens: "I Remember".
For any who are confused by this, the full line is Je me souviens / que né sous le lys / je croîs sous la rose, which translates as "I remember that born under the lily (France) I grew under the rose (England)." The intended meaning was never fully explained by its original author. Probably just a neutral summation of the history of Quebec... but it could be taken as implying that the English (and English Canada) are still viewed as conquerors, and possibly enemies.
Which leads to another Canadian motto: "Get over it already."
Which is reminiscent of the former Confederate boast "The South shall rise again," and the less known Yankee rejoinder: "And the North shall slap you down – Again!"
The Mafia, on the topic of assassination: "Only blood can wash away blood."
Omerta: "If I live, I'll kill you. If I die, I forgive you". Legend says this were the words that a wounded man uttered to his assailant.
"Never say die, say kill!"
The code of combat between masters of Irish stick-fighting includes the standard stuff - never back down, announce the name of your clan without fear, and so on - but the real chilling line is how a shillelagh fighter explains his intent to avoid mortal injury.
"The only fear I have is the fear of killing you."
The Irish National Anthem, Amhrán na bFhian ("A Soldier's Song") has some kickass moments, like in the chorus:
"Tonight we man the breach For Ireland's cause, live or die 'Mid cannon's roar and rifle's peal We'll sing a soldier's song".
Gott zur Ehr, dem Nächsten zur Wehr. Traditional motto of German firefighters, meaning: "To the glory of God and the protection of our neighbours".
Tsuyoku naritai is Japanese. Tsuyoku is "strong"; naru is "becoming" and the form naritai is "want to become". Together it means "I want to become stronger" and it expresses a sentiment embodied more intensely in Japanese works than in any Western literature I've read. You might say it when expressing your determination to become a professional Go player - or after you lose an important match, but you haven't given up - or after you win an important match, but you're not a ninth-dan player yet - or after you've become the greatest Go player of all time, but you still think you can do better. That is tsuyoku naritai, the will to transcendence.
"All Blacks, let me become one with the land! This is our land that rumbles! It’s my time! It’s my moment! This defines us as the All Blacks! It’s my time! It’s my moment! Our dominance, Our supremacy will triumph! And be placed on high Silver fern! All Blacks! Silver fern! All Blacks!"
It is also a Pretentious Latin Motto, but the motto of the New South Wales Police Force is culpam poena premit comes, which translates to "Punishment closely follows guilt," also quite accurately translated as "Vengeance follows guilt swiftly."
"We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us."
"Anonymous: Because none of us is as cruel as all of us."
The Habsburgs used for centuries the A.E.I.O.U acronym as a motto, first introduced in the 15th century. There were several interpretations but most of them as badass as anything:
Alles Erdreich ist Oesterreich untertan (German: All the world is subject to Austria)
Austria est imperio optime unita (Latin: Austria is the empire best united)
Austria erit in orbe ultima (Latin: Austria will be the last [surviving] in the world)
Austriae est imperare orbi universo (Latin: It is Austria's destiny to rule the whole world)
Noble bloodlines and families tend to have badass mottoes in general. Friend of mine comes from a relatively minor line whose motto (ripped from Virgil, apparently) is Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos ("Forgive the weak, vanquish the proud"). Pretty metal no matter how you choose to interpret it.
"Somerville girls can take care of themselves." The unofficial motto of Somerville College, Oxford University. 'Somerville girls' include the first female Prime Ministers of India (Indira Gandhi) and Britain (Margaret Thatcher)(both of whom were 'wartime' PMs), the first-ever Indian woman lawyer (in 1892!), and several Nobel-winners, that's a deliberately-massive understatement.
Firearms manufacturer Heckler & Koch used to use "In a world of compromise some men don't." This was later amended to "In a world of compromise some don't." Reasonably badass either way. They also used "When lives are at stake, leave nothing to chance."
Speaking of firearms manufacturers, Colt had one of their own: "God created all men equal; Sam Colt made them so."
FBI Hostage Rescue Team: Servare Vitas ("To Save Lives").
A few of the USA states have some badass mottoes:
New Hampshire's is probably the most famous: "Live Free or Die."
West Virginia's is similar: Montani Semper Liberi ("Mountaineers are Always Free")
Even more so when you remember that those were the words Booth said after killing Lincoln. Virginia has kept the same motto since 1776.
North Carolina's qualifies, too. Esse Quam Videri ("To Be, Rather than to Seem")
New York's might be familiar to readers of Marvel Comics: Excelsior or, as it's usually translated, "Ever Upward" (though more colloquially it just means "Higher"). That's a motto that New York City has taken to heart.
Maryland's state motto also qualifies. It translates to "Manly deeds, womanly words," but that's out-of-date. A more modern translation is "Strong deeds, gentle words." Meaning Marylanders are very polite people - who also get things done.
The city of San Francisco has a pretty good one too: oro en paz, fiero en guerra ("gold in peace, iron in war").
Small, but still used. In the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, when the militias from Lexington and Concord asked Acton's (who had bayonets) to lead the charge on the Old North Bridge, Captain Isaac Davis was heard to say "I haven't a man who is afraid to go." (There are different recorded versions, but they're all just as powerful.)
The Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, depending on where you are, are even more hard core about honour, honesty, trust and sisterhood. The Girl Guides of Canada have the Guiding Promise, as an example:
I promise to do my best,
To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada.
I will take action for a better world
And respect the Guiding Law.
Several Las Vegas Security departments have the unofficial motto "First In, Last Out", pointing out that they are there dealing with stuff before the police, fire department, or paramedics. And are often the last to leave after tying up all the loose ends.
Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, labor activist (primarily anti-child labor), suffragette, anarchist, general hellraiser, and "The most dangerous woman in America" charged in with the motto:
"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!"
Scotland, as you might expect, also has one: Nemo me impune lacessit ("Nobody injures me with impunity"). It has a rather more direct, official translation into Scots: "Who daur meddle wi' me?" Its unofficial translation, much beloved of Scottish soldiers, is "No-one fucks wi' me an' gets awa' wi' it."
The Latin form was appropriated by Edgar Allan Poe for "The Cask of Amontillado."
The WHO AM I speech by Coach Flowers, it's just... awesome
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, America as a whole has adopted a few. The most prominent mottoes are "United We Stand" and "Let's Roll", the latter after Todd Beamer's Dying Moment of Awesome on United Airlines Flight 93.
The motto of the Olympics has been Citius, Altius, Fortius ("Faster, Higher, Stronger") since 1924. A pretty Badass Creed for a sporting event.
The creed of the Special Olympics is pretty badass:
"Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be courageous in the attempt."
Many national anthems, but especially those 6 ones. Several of them were originally military songs.
England:Decus et Tutamen ("A shield and an ornament")
Scotland:Nemo Me Impune Lacessit ("Nobody injures me with impunity")
Wales:Pleidol wyf I'm gwylad ("True am I to my country")
There is also the war-cry of international socialism. Whatever one's opinion of that particular idology, that chant is awesome:
"Workers of the World, UNITE!"
When it was motto of the U.S.S.R, it sounded even better (Russian is like that):
"Proletariy vsekh stran, soyedinyaytes!"
According to Herodatus, the training practice for Persian nobles: "To ride, to shoot, and to speak the truth."
The historical motto of the Spanish Empire: Plus Ultra ("Further Beyond"), This is in direct contrast from the supposed inscription on the mythical Pillars of Hercules at the Straights of Gibraltar, marking the end of the Mediterranean and of the ancient world: Non Plus Ultra, No Further, a warning against the dangers of the unknown open sea. Spain went beyond and conquered.
The first lines of the Polish national anthem: Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, / Kiedy my żyjemy. (Poland has not yet perished,/ So long as we still live.) Even more impressive when you remember that Poland didn't exist for circa 200 years...
The Tough Mudder challenge, a series of obstacle courses that emphasize teamwork over personal records, has the Tough Mudder Pledge:
As a Tough Mudder I pledge that… - I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge. - I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time. - I do not whine – kids whine. - I help my fellow Mudders complete the course. - I overcome all fears.
"Never again." Jewish survivors of the Holocaust.
The Scottish Clan Sutherland (who lent their name to the Thin Red Line) has the motto "Sans Peur" meaning simply "without fear".