Thirty-one years ago the United States woke up to the horrible news that hundreds of U.S. Marines had been killed on the other side of the world while engaged, ironically, in peace keeping operations.
Most of them died where they lived, in a four story building located near the Beirut airport. A truck bomb destroyed the building, killing 241 U.S. service personnel, 220 of whom were Marines. Most of the others were Sailors, many of whom were Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Corpsmen.
It was an early indication of what the world would see for the next three decades, and counting. U.S. servicemen and women, stationed thousands of miles from home to protect the lives of innocents, were attacked simply because of what they stood for, and for just being there.
Survivors continue to meet and mourn their lost comrades. They have become close, as only those who have experienced combat can do. For them, today is one day of the year to honor the sacrifice of their brothers-in-arms, but not the only day. Because for many of them the memories never go away.
[Read “The Impact of the Beirut Bombing” for an eyewitness account.]