"I'm sorry I must leave, but I must do what is asked of me by my God, my Country, and my Corps.. and so, the war blog begins, again." ~B

23 October 2009

Beirut Barracks Bombing

Today is the anniversary of the bombing of the Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

241 American service personnel were killed, 220 of which were Marines. The blasts led to the withdrawal of the international peacekeeping force from Lebanon, where they had been stationed following the Israeli 1982 Invasion of Lebanon.

A couple of years ago, I was at a campaign event where I met a Marine veteran. As the evening progressed, he began to open up about this time in the service and what his experiences were. Then he told me about his son. He told me about his love for motorcycles and how he followed his father's example and joined the Marine Corps as soon as he was able. The man told me about the deep pride he felt in his son, and about how he turned into such an honorable man. He told me about how his son's smile could light up a room. He told me about the many friends his son had all over the world. I asked if his son was still in the Marine Corps.

He stopped, and his eyes were overtaken by the kind of pain that could only mean one thing. This gruff man cleared his throat a couple of times and told me that his son was no longer with us. He had been killed in Beirut.

He told me the story about how his son's Marine buddies had dug through the rubble, trying to get him out. But it was futile, his son was already gone. He told me about the Marines who cared for his son's broken body until it was returned to him.

He told me that he still goes to see his son, every week, in the place where he is buried.

In honor and memory of this man, and this man's son, I remember the Marines killed in Beirut on this day, in 1983.

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