Brigadier General Ed Simmons, the retired Director Emeritus of Marine Corps History, died at home in Alexandria. Virginia, on 5 May 2007. He had been a Marine for 65 of his 85 years. For a quarter-century he was the ever-vigilant "Keeper of the Keys," the corporate memory and living repository of the official Marine Corps story.
History and traditions are the bedrock of the Corps. The director of history must maintain the line between fact and fiction while tolerating the hallowed legends and myths that shape the Marines' distinctive culture. Ed Simmons did both with authority.
"There is no such thing as absolute truth in history," he once wrote. "The best we hope to be is as accurate as possible, which is not quite the same thing as truth."