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thedrifter
08-02-06, 07:38 AM
Memorial Pays Tribute To Marines Killed 1 Year Ago

Tue Aug 1, 11:51 AM ET

It was one year ago today that six Brook Park Marines were killed while serving in Iraq.

A memorial paying tribute to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment replaces the makeshift one the community started a year ago on Smith Road in Brook Park.

The Marines were part of a sniper unit out of Akron. They were killed in action near Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad.

The unit was part of an infantry battalion that conducts missions to disrupt insurgencies and take an offensive stand against terrorists.

The Brook Park-based Marine battalion lost 48 men in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Check out newsnet5.com's special section honoring the fallen Marines here.

Ellie

thedrifter
08-02-06, 03:08 PM
Brook Park Marines' deaths felt a year later
JOE MILICIA
Associated Press

BROOK PARK, Ohio - Their deaths shook a nation that had grown used to the slowly mounting U.S. military casualties in Iraq.

A year ago this week, 14 members of the suburban-Cleveland based 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines died in attacks a day apart. The blue-collar suburb's loss drew worldwide mourning.

"The attention that it received and the outreach was overwhelming," Brook Park Mayor Mark Elliott said.

Just a few weeks later, Hurricane Katrina swept away the nation's gaze, but the Marines' deaths had a lasting impact - from affecting opinions of the war to strengthening the resolve of military families.

"What we saw a year ago were people opposed to the war but afraid to do so publicly. People would whisper to us, 'I'm opposed to this war, too,'" said Paul Schroeder of Cleveland, whose son, Lance Cpl. Edward "Augie" Schroeder II, was killed Aug. 3, 2005, in a roadside bombing. "That fear of speaking out faded."

There haven't been protests similar to those of the anti-war movement in the 1960s, but Pete Moore, assistant professor of political science at Case Western Reserve University, said the deaths of the Brook Park Marines affected public sentiment about the war.

"There has been a reaction. I think it's cumulative," Moore said. "Public opinion in the U.S. is decidedly against the war."

However, John Mueller, professor of political science at Ohio State, doesn't see any correlation in the decline of support for the war with the deaths of the Brook Park Marines. Mueller, whose research includes public opinion of war, points out that support for the war has gradually declined in the same way it did for the Korean War and Vietnam War.

"It's erosion as casualties go up and people who had been supporting the war say, 'That's too rich for my blood,'" he said.

Paul Montgomery of Willoughby doesn't believe the death of his son, Lance Cpl. Brian Montgomery, one of several snipers who were killed Aug. 1, 2005, and his fellow Marines turned people against the war. He knows it had an impact, though.

"Based on cards and phone calls I've gotten, people still remember," Montgomery said. "Even though coverage did get refocused on Katrina, I still think there was enough coverage. People understood the magnitude of what happened without hearing about it day after day. I believe it stuck with people."

Montgomery, whose other son, Eric, is attending the U.S. Naval Academy to become a Marine officer, hopes the media coverage of the Brook Park Marines made people aware of what they represent.

"This should be a wake up call that we need to continue on," he said.

Flags flapped in the humid breeze Tuesday at a memorial built outside the battalion headquarters. Bricks bear the names of each of the 48 members killed in Iraq before the unit returned to the United States in September.

The scene stood in stark contrast to a year ago, when reporters and cameras filled the parking lot outside the headquarters as friends, family and complete strangers sobbed before a makeshift memorial of flowers, teddy bears and handwritten notes attached to a chain-link fence.

The one-year anniversary will pass in Brook Park with no public remembrance. The city chose to pay tribute to all the Ohio military members killed in the war in early July. Montgomery's father and his son's widow, Pamela, were among the many family members who planted flags in memory of loved ones.

As the anniversary approached, Paul Montgomery said it hasn't been any more difficult than anything else he's experienced the past year.

"The toughest thing for me was the holidays where Brian wasn't able to be with his son," he said of Alex Montgomery, who turns 2 Thursday.

That day, Paul Schroeder and Rosemary Palmer, who have become activists since their son's death, calling on President Bush to send more reinforcements to Iraq or withdraw U.S. troops altogether, will quietly remember their son by cleaning his gravestone at Lutheran Cemetery in nearby Brooklyn.

"The public grief of many families can't help but have an impact," Palmer said.

Ellie