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  1. #1

    Cool Beirut Barracks Blown Up:

    "Never Forgotten"

    October 23, 1983

    A suicide bomber drives a truck packed with explosives into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 U.S. military personnel. That same morning, 58 French soldiers were killed in their barracks two miles away in a separate suicide terrorist attack. The U.S. Marines were part of a multinational force sent to Lebanon in August 1982 to oversee the Palestinian withdrawal from Lebanon. From its inception, the mission was plagued with problems--and a mounting body count.

    In 1975, a bloody civil war erupted in Lebanon, with Palestinian and leftist Muslim guerrillas battling militias of the Christian Phalange Party, the Maronite Christian community, and other groups. During the next few years, Syrian, Israeli, and United Nations interventions failed to resolve the factional fighting, and on August 20, 1982, a multinational force including 800 U.S. Marines was ordered to Beirut to help coordinate the Palestinian withdrawal.

    The Marines left Lebanese territory on September 10 but returned in strengthened numbers on September 29, following the massacre of Palestinian refugees by a Christian militia. The next day, the first U.S. Marine to die during the mission was killed while defusing a bomb. Other Marines fell prey to snipers. On April 18, 1983, a suicide bomber driving a van devastated the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans. Then, on October 23, a Lebanese terrorist plowed his bomb-laden truck through three guard posts, a barbed-wire fence, and into the lobby of the Marines Corps headquarters in Beirut, where he detonated a massive bomb, killing 241 marine, navy, and army personnel. The bomb, which was made of a sophisticated explosive enhanced by gas, had an explosive power equivalent to 18,000 pounds of dynamite. The identities of the embassy and barracks bombers were not determined, but they were suspected to be Shiite terrorists associated with Iran.

    After the barracks bombing, many questioned whether President Ronald Reagan had a solid policy aim in Lebanon. Serious questions also arose over the quality of security in the American sector of war-torn Beirut. The U.S. peacekeeping force occupied an exposed area near the airport, but for political reasons the marine commander had not been allowed to maintain a completely secure perimeter before the attack. In a national address on October 23, President Reagan vowed to keep the marines in Lebanon, but just four months later he announced the end of the American role in the peacekeeping force. On February 26, 1984, the main force of marines left Lebanon, leaving just a small contingent to guard the U.S. embassy in Beirut.


  2. #2
    A somber reminder for city
    October 21,2004

    Three years ago, the 9/11 terrorist attacks forever changed everyday life in the United States and spurred a global war on terrorism.

    For the military, however, the fight with terrorists began Oct. 23, 1983, when the Marine compound at Beirut International Airport in Lebanon was bombed - 241 servicemen, many of them Marines and sailors from Camp Lejeune's 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, were killed when a truck loaded with 12,000 pounds of explosives detonated at the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment Headquarters.

    In all, 273 service members, including soldiers and airmen, were killed on the same mission between 1982 and 1984.

    In Jacksonville, the aftermath united the military and civilian communities like never before. With more than 75 percent of the Marines and sailors from Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station living off base and in local neighborhoods, the sense of grief was universal.

    "The bombing reminded us these guys are our soccer coaches and church members," said Mike Ellzey of the Beirut Memorial Advisory Committee.

    A massive effort to memorialize the fallen was orchestrated in large part by Jacksonville resident Doris Downs, who died in June after battling cancer. She played a central role in planting the 250-plus Bradford pear trees that now line Lejeune Boulevard and later in founding the Beirut Memorial located at the entrance to Camp Johnson. She helped raise more than $400,000 for the work.

    After the memorial was established, Downs continued her efforts by forming the Beirut Memorial Advisory Board and establishing an annual observance on Oct. 23. Last year, 1,500 people, many of them families of the fallen, gathered at the memorial to reflect and mourn.

    On Saturday, the 21st anniversary, families will gather at the memorial for a private candlelight vigil around 6 a.m. In the past, this is when the names of the dead have been read - an exercise that culminates at 6:20 a.m., when the blast occurred. A public service begins at 10:30 a.m.

    Maj. Gen. David F. Bice, the Marine Corps' inspector general, is scheduled to be the main speaker. The Northside High School concert choir will sing renditions of "In Flander's Field" and "America the Beautiful."

    Typically, the event ends with the placement of one or more wreaths at the wall's base, followed by a rifle salute and a rendition of "Taps."

    "It's basically similar to other observances," Ellzey said. "We try to make each different, but meaningful."

    This year, officials will dedicate a granite bench to Downs.

    Weather permitting, another memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. at the Camp Geiger Memorial Circle - where the first monument to the Beirut victims was dedicated in 1984. The barracks for 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment was aboard Camp Geiger at the time.


  3. #3
    October 22, 2004
    Remembrance Ceremony Sat. to remember Marines of Beirut Bombing

    by Sgt. Melvin Lopez Jr.
    Henderson Hall News

    There will be a Remembrance Ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery, remembrance of the 21st anniversary of the Beirut bombing of the Marine Barracks.

    On Oct. 23, 1983 at 6:22 a.m., a large Mercedes truck rushed into the Marine compound at Beirut's airport and crashed into the four-story building that housed approximately 300 service members. The driver detonated explosives packing a punch equal to more than 12,000 tons of TNT.

    The terrorist attack killed 220 Marines and 21 other U.S. service members.

    The day becamethe Corps' bloodiest since World War II, when Marines fought to secure Iwo Jima.

    The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. in Section 59 of the Arlington National Cemetery and will be hosted by the White House Commission on Remembrance, formerly known as No Greater Love.

    At 2 p.m., a Wreath Laying Ceremony will be conducted at the Tomb of the Unknown It will be presented by the Beirut Veterans of America and family members.

    The 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Al Gray (retired) is scheduled to appear at both ceremonies.

    At 7 p.m., there will be a special dinner and reunion at the Capitol City Brewing Co. in Arlington where the Beirut Veterans will be forming the DC/Baltimore Chapter. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.

    Information on how to become a member of the BVA can be found on their Web site . Membership applications will be available at the dinner.

    Official USMC photo
    The devastation of the barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 23, 1983, left Marines searching through tons of rubble for their missing comrades.


  4. #4
    Guest Free Member
    "Never Forgotten" for sure! Makes me sick and very ****ed off everytime I think about it!

    I'm always very sad on October 23rd!

  5. #5
    Gone and Apparently Forgotten: The Marines of Beirut

    By Patrick Hayes

    Twenty years ago this week, Shi’ite Muslim terrorists murdered 241 Marines and Navy personnel, and 58 French Paratroopers in Beirut, Lebanon. Does anyone remember? Does anyone care?

    On the night of Oct. 23, 1983, the Beirut city skyline in Lebanon was filled with the usual flash and echo of explosions, the almost continuous staccato of heavy and light machine-gun fire, and the nightly shouting and screaming between the Lebanese Muslim and Christian Druze factions.

    As dawn approached on that Sunday morning, the noise of nightly combat dropped off somewhat and the Marines and support elements of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit prepared for another day of intermittent artillery and mortar barrages, patrols through the streets and other peacekeeping duties. Some were in the shower, others were eating quickly between keeping combat boots presentable and cleaning their weapons, while others grabbed a last few minutes of sleep before the morning formation for those assigned to duty.

    At 0622 on that day, a homicidal Shi’ite Muslim terrorist drove a Mercedes truck loaded with approximately 2,500 pounds of high explosives into the Marine Barracks at Beirut’s international airport and in a few seconds of terror, murdered 241 Marines and Navy Corpsmen. Eighty more men lay badly wounded, while not far away, another gang of Shi’ite Muslim murderers attacked the French compound with a suicide bomb, killing 58 French soldiers.

    Not for the first time and not for the last time, the U.S. government sent American troops into harm’s way for political rather than military reasons and without a clearly defined mission. The Marines operated as a peacekeeping force to maintain order between combative factions, including Lebanese Muslims. On that October morning in question, the presence of the Marines was solely in Beirut to support the EUCOM forces trying to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict that raged between the fighting Lebanese factions. Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, Americans paid the price for trying to quell Third World conflicts with dead Americans coming home in body bags and absolutely nothing to show for it.

    But these men, combat-ready though they were, did not die in combat. A fanatical enemy, that has today become a worldwide threat, murdered them virtually in their sleep. Marines don’t sleep or relax unless their fellow Marines are on guard on the perimeter. In this instance, however, the rules of engagement prevented the Marines on guard from having their weapons actually loaded – this, even though they were receiving mortar, artillery and small arms fire fairly regularly.

    There are many levels of bureaucracy with which the military must deal, not the least of which is its own. But when it becomes politically expedient to place combat troops in harm’s way with unloaded weapons, it may be time for real military leaders to take their cue and protect their own. This is especially true, given the cowardly nature of the Muslim method of attack and murder.

    Besides having empty weapons, another blatant problem was placing a battalion of Marines in one single target area, leaving only a company on the perimeter to guard the facility. Given not only the environment in which they had landed and the reason for that landing, but also having a history of combat experience around the world in a variety of conflicts, with clear 20-20 hindsight, it seems evident that very few if any personnel should have been assigned to a building that was such an obvious target, particularly when the same Muslim terrorists had blown up the American embassy on April 18 of the same year, in virtually the same manner.

    Twenty years have gone by since the Marine Barracks was bombed, yet several considerations are still evident.

    One, very little or nothing has been done to retaliate against the Shi’ite Muslim terrorists for this atrocity. As we now know, in that part of the world, the United States was seen to turn tail and run. Also, rather than targeting these Muslim terrorists, we have flocked to their cause in trying to save them from Yugoslav Christians in Bosnia and now from a secular Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. In either case, little or gratitude has been shown and, in some cases, Shi’ite gunmen have exchanged fire with U.S. troops.

    Two, unlike the Israelis, Americans also still seem to be afraid of upsetting the “Muslim (or Arab) street” and worry what they might do if we take them out in retaliatory strikes, whether the Muslim terrorists in Beirut, in Iraq, in the Philippines, in Malaysia, or wherever. People don’t seem to realize, they’ve already done it. Without any formal declaration of war, they have attacked and murdered not only our military personnel, but also our civilians. They have no compunction, no honor and certainly no ethics when it comes to killing anyone they identify as “infidels,” especially the innocent.

    And three, we are still trying to fight with one hand politically tied behind our backs – fair play, no bullets, plenty of warning given to potential enemies, and all that is “proper” to play the game and satisfy the United Nations.

    Because of our current level of fear of offending Muslims and what seems to be a national policy of political correctness, few officials have had the courage to actually say something definitive about our collective enemy. The one exception, Army Maj. Gen. William G. Boykin, is now himself under DoD investigation after news reports last week of him speaking to evangelical Christian groups on the subject of Muslim terror.

    As I recall the October day 20 years ago, I continue to hope that the 241 Marines and Corpsmen in Beirut, the 18 American Rangers in Somalia, the Americans who have been killed in Bosnia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and the men who are still dying Iraq, have not died and are not dying in vain.

    This is an appropriate day also to reaffirm that when our elected officials send American servicemen and women into a combat environment, it is up to each and every one of us, especially combat veterans who know better, to ensure that politics, expediency and self-aggrandizement do not blind us to either the realities of the situation or the enemy we face.

    The Marines Corps will keep and honor the memory of those men who died in Beirut 20 years ago. But I wonder how many Americans will actually remember. The Islamic enemy has been biting at our heels since the 1950s and 1960s, but too many don’t seem remember that far back.

    Our war on terrorism began on 9/11, but the terrorists’ war on the United States began a long time ago.

    Patrick Hayes is a Senior Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at


  6. #6
    What cause that bombing on 23rd October 1983?
    Was a question on my mind.
    Than other question;
    What have learned from the terrible event of the morning of 23rd October 1983?

    In my research, I came on Rules of Engagement (ROE).
    I thought we had laid ROE to rest after Vietnam.
    That was not the case because of what I found;
    Guidelines of Rules of Engagement

    Beirut White Card ROE: September 1982 - October 1983

    1. When on the post, mobile or foot patrol, keep loaded magazine in weapon, bolt closed, weapon on safe, no round in the chamber.

    2. Do not chamber a round unless told to do so by a commissioned offiecer unles you must act in immediate self-defense where deadly force is authorized.

    3. Keep ammo for crew served weapons readily available but not loaded. Weapons on safe.

    4. Call local forces to assist in self-defense effort. Notify headquarters.

    5. Use only minimum degree of force to accomplish any mission.

    6. Stop the use of force when it is no longer needed to accomplish the mission.

    7. If you receive effective hostile fire, direct your fire at the source. If possible, use friendly snipers.

    8. Respect civilian property; do not attack it unless absolutely necessary to protect friendly forces.

    9. Protect innocent civilians from harm.

    10. Respect and protect recognized medical agencies such as Red Cross and Red Crescent, etc.

    Beirut Blue Card ROE: May 1983 - October 1983

    Rules of Engagement for American and British Embassy External Security Forces

    1. Loaded magazines will be in weapons at all times when on post, bolt closed, weapon on safe. No round will be in the chamber.

    2. Round will be chambered only when intending to fire.

    3. Weapon will be fired only under the following circumstances:

    a. A hostile act has been committed.

    (1) A hostile act is defined as rounds fired at the embassy, embassy personnel, embassy vehicle, or Marine sentries.

    (2) The response will be proportional.

    (3) The response will cease when attack ceases.

    (4) There will be no pursuit by fire.

    (5) A hostile act from a vehicle is when it crosses the established barricade. First fire to disable the vehicle and apprehend occupants. If the vehicle cannot be stopped, fire on the occupants.

    (6) A hostile act from an individual or group of individuals is present when they cross the barricade and will not stop after warnings in Arabic and French. If they do not stop fire at them.

    4. Well aimed fire will be used; weapons will not be placed on automatic.

    5. Care will be taken to avoid civilian casualties.

    This was what those Marines had to deal with besides a confusing Chain of Command (COC) as the Commander of the MAU wore 6 different "hats" in his command position.

    In Iraq, we're still dealing with ROE on a day to day routine.
    Much of this control from the civilain authorities.
    My thoughts;
    We did not learn from Vietnam, that wars cannot be control from places other than the area of operations...

    Semper Fidelis/Semper Fi

  7. #7
    Why were we in Beirut, Lebanon?

    One of the reasons is given below;
    Throughout this period, which saw heavy Israeli air, naval, and artillery bombardments of west Beirut, Ambassador Habib worked to arrange a settlement. In August 1982, he was successful in bringing about an agreement for the evacuation of Syrian troops and PLO fighters from Beirut. The agreement also provided for the deployment of a three-nation Multinational Force (MNF) during the period of the evacuation, and by late August 1982, U.S. Marines, as well as French and Italian units, had arrived in Beirut. On 10 August 1982 the alert posture of the Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group was heightened in light of a likely deployment as part of a peacekeeping force to oversee the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) forces from West Beirut.

    We help evacuate terrorists to live another day.
    They repaid us by killing us and another members of the Multinational Force (MNF) on 23rd October 1983.
    When in fact we should have been helping the Israeli's...kill all these terrorists...

    Semper Fidelis/Semper Fi

  8. #8

    I was living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Working under contract to an American company for the Ministry Of Defense and Aviation (MODA).

    I'd been in Saudi Arabia, about six months on October 23rd, 1983. I'd had many discussions with the Saudis and other Arabs, and Muslims from many other countries that I worked with, about Israel, and Islam, and the relationship of the United States to the Midle East. I still wasn't sure if these people were our friends or our enemies.

    However, on that day, when I whitnessed first hand our "friends" (sic) the Saudis, and all the other muslims, walking around beaming like idiots, happy because American Marines had been killed in Lebanon, I knew from that day forward that we Americans, and The United States of America, have no "friends", except Israel, in the Middle East.

    I also hated Ronald Reagan, from that day, because he did nothing but stick his tail between his legs and run like a whipped pup. If Reagan had hit Lebanon, the Syrians, Iran, and the Palestinians hard after that, a lot of what has happened since then, including the Gilf War, and 9/11, would not have come to pass.

    Every President since Jimmy Carter has treated Islamic terrorism, just as John "Fonda" Kerry would, as a nuisence. Now that we finally have a President, who understands the threat, and is willing to do something about it, we'd better keep him, or this country will see more Beiruts, and 9/11's, than we can imagine in our worst nightmares.

    God Bless George W. Bush, and may every stinking Muslim, and their hellish god "allah" rot in the hell where they were spawned!!!

  9. #9
    Marine Platinum Member jinelson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Newark, CA
    Well Put Relay

    Semper Fi

  10. #10
    220 United States Marines, 18 United States Navy sailors and 3 United States Army soldiers are murdered in the car bombing of the BLT headquarters at Beirut International Airport. Remember these warriors in your prayers today.


  11. #11
    Phantom Blooper
    Guest Free Member

    Gods Lent Child

    “I’ll lend you for a little while
    A child of mine,” God said
    “for you to love the while he lives,
    And mourn for when he’s dead.
    It may be six or seven years
    Or forty two or three.
    But will you, till I call him back,
    Take care of him for me?

    He’ll bring his charms to gladden you
    And – should his stay be brief –
    You’ll have his lovely memories
    As a solace for your grief.

    I cannot promise he will stay,
    Since all from earth returns;
    But there are lessons taught below
    I want this child to learn.
    I’ve looked the whole world over
    In my search for teachers true
    And from the things that crowd life’s lane
    I have chosen you.

    Now will you give him all your love?
    Not think the labor vain?
    Nor hate me when I come to take
    This Lent Child back again?”

    “I fancied that I heard them say –
    “Dear Lord, Thy will be done
    For all the joys Thy Child will bring
    The risk of grief we’ll run.
    We will shelter him with tenderness,
    We’ll love him while we may
    And for the happiness we’ve known
    Forever grateful stay.

    But should Thy angel call for him,
    Much sooner than we’ve planned,
    We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes
    And try to understand.”

    - Author Unknown

  12. #12
    nice poem

  13. #13
    Guest Free Member
    ...My rifle and myself are the 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.
    There is still alot of people out there aiming to hurt us. They hurt us bad in October '83. But they will never win as long as there is one US Marine still drawing breath.

    Rest easy my Brothers.

  14. #14
    Depot Marine relives chaos, pain of Beirut bombing

    Submitted by: MCRD Parris Island
    Story Identification #: 20031031105233
    Story by Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Haynes

    MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (Oct. 31, 2003) -- October 23, 1983, was a normal day for 23-year-old Lance Cpl. Charles M. Anderson and the Marines of 81mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Co., 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, who made their residence on the airstrip of the Beirut International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon.

    The Marines, who were in country as part of a multinational force trying to help restore order and stability in Lebanon, went about their normal routine after receiving mortar fire until about 5:30 a.m. - about the time one of many cease-fires were issued.

    The Marines went to Condition 4, which gave them an opportunity to "relax" after weeks of sporadic sniper and mortar attacks.

    Almost an hour later, Anderson heard two loud blasts before seeing the large mushroom clouds that were the result of a truck loaded with 2,000 pounds of explosives crashing into the Marine barracks that housed the headquarters element for Battalion Landing Team 1/8. The attack killed 241 and injuring nearly 100 others.

    "We requested permission to go in the building and check things out," recalled Anderson, now a 43-year-old master sergeant. "When we got there, there were people crying, hurt ... it was pretty chaotic."

    Anderson and other Marines from Weapons, 1/8, noticed two corpsmen emerge from the devastated building, followed by seven Marines who were in the upper level of the barracks. The corpsmen and Marines quickly took action despite the chaos.

    "We helped out doing everything we could," said Anderson, who is one of the few Marines in Beirut at the time still on active duty. "Everyone was writing down the names of anyone who could have been in the building to gain accountability and keep track of who might have been killed or is still alive."

    There were a lot of mixed emotions, said Anderson.

    Among the hate, discontent and sadness, confusion set in among the Marines and other service members who were affected by the terrorist attack.

    "The Marines were not known as a peacekeeping force back then," said Anderson. "There was an overall feeling of, 'Why are we here?'"

    The Marines had been stationed in Lebanon to provide a peace-keeping presence. The year before, in June, the Israelis had invaded Lebanon in one final push to drive out PLO terrorists.

    This move upset the balance in the Middle East, and U.S. forces were attempting to referee the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon.

    The earlier Embassy bombing in April of that year and the bombing of the Marine barracks are what some consider the beginning of the War on Terror.

    The bombing was considered the most deadly act of terrorism toward Americans prior to Sept. 11, 2001, when the world witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center and the damage to the Pentagon.

    Anderson, who is also a native of New York, said there were many similarities between what happened in Beirut and the World Trade Center.

    "I know the exact feelings of the people in New York," Anderson said. "You go about your everyday life never thinking that something like this couldn't happen - and all of a sudden, your life changes."

    He said the terrorist attacks of 9/11 rekindled a lot of feelings from his time in Beirut, and the surprise and chaos he and his fellow Marines dealt with that morning are similar to those felt by people in New York.

    "There were a lot of innocent victims in New York and the Pentagon, but what happened in Beirut happened to my brothers ... my friends," he said as he recalled the names of friends and comrades like it happened yesterday. "That's when you really understand the meaning of 'band of brothers.'"

    To remember the brothers and friends who were killed or wounded in Beirut, the Beirut Veterans Association in Jacksonville, N.C., hosted a memorial Oct. 23 at Camp Lejeune, N.C., to commemorate the 20th anniversary.

    The ceremony rekindled some of the same mixed emotions felt on that day 20 years ago.
    "A lot of people that were there that day debated coming because they didn't want to relive the horror many of us felt," said Anderson. "But it was outstanding on both a happy and sad note."

    According to Anderson, the ceremony did great justice to the service members and to the families of those who served there - even those who first stepped foot in Beirut in 1958.

    "It was a beautiful experience, [the City of] Jacksonville did their share to help," he said.
    "It was good to see some of the faces of old friends and brothers," said Anderson. "1/8 was tight from the beginning, but death and tragedy make you tighter."


  15. #15
    War on terror's first battlefield
    October 24,2004

    by eric steinkopff

    daily news staff

    Shelia Favors practically wears her patriotism on her sleeve.

    Favors, a resident of Winston, Ga., didn't lose a family member 21 years ago when a terrorist bomb destroyed a Marine Corps compound in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 Marines and sailors with the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit from Camp Lejeune.

    Nonetheless, there she was Saturday morning at the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville, joining about 200 others in paying tribute to the memory of those who died on that ill-fated peacekeeping mission. Wearing two silver-colored Vietnam-era prisoner of war bracelets and a gold band in support of U.S. troops in Iraq, Favors wiped tears from her eyes while listening to the solemn music and speeches.

    "I try to make all of the (memorial services) I possibly can," Favors said. "I'm so proud of all of them."

    Favors is in town visiting her daughter, Marine 1st Lt. Rachael Pitts of 8th Engineer Support Battalion, who will be leaving for a deployment to Iraq next year. She also has a son, Jason, who served in the Marine Corps during the first Gulf War.

    "I try to make everybody understand just how important the military is," Favors said. "I'm behind the Marine Corps and the president 100 percent."

    A crisp autumn air greeted the guests and visitors for Saturday's ceremony marking the Oct. 23, 1983, event "that sent shock waves through this community," said Camp Lejeune chief of staff Col. W.A. Meier.

    Those with long hair and beards dressed in leather and jeans stood proudly and reverently with closely cropped Marines in dress blue uniforms as the Northside High School Concert Choir sang "In Flanders Field" and "America the Beautiful."

    Two wreaths were laid at the memorial, inscribed with the words, "They came in Peace" and bearing the names of 273 servicemen who died during the peacekeeping effort in Lebanon from 1982 to 1984. There was a rifle salute, the traditional playing of "Taps" and "Amazing Grace" played on bagpipes.

    "We are here to honor the memories and celebrate the lives of the great men who died in Beirut," said Maj. Gen. David F. Bice, Marine Corps inspector general and guest speaker for Saturday's event. "We pay tribute to their service that allows us to live. They went to protect the innocent and shield the most vulnerable. The mission was inherently dangerous, and they had the courage to be involved in something bigger than themselves."

    Bice called Beirut "the first battlefield in the Global War on Terrorism," a battle that continues today.

    "The enemies of democracy know only hate and fear - (in an attempt) to stifle freedom," Bice said. "Our country is free because people like these lay their lives on the line. We fight this war (in Iraq) because we treasure freedom, and our presence honors the fallen. It's the obligation of citizenship and defense of democracy."

    Contact Eric Steinkopff at or 353-1171, Ext. 236.


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