Marines

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ARLINGTON, Va. ? Sgt. Derick Smith, a 24-year-old supply clerk and Georgia native, stands at attention and salutes the National Ensign and Marine Corps flag Oct. 22 as a color guard from Marine Barracks Washington passes by. A dozen Marines from Henderson Hall were present at the ceremony to act as escorts.

Photo by Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

Marines mourn, remember service members killed in Beirut

22 Oct 2006 | Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

Marines and family members attended a small ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Oct. 22 to remember those killed in the 1983 terrorist attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. 

The fourth Sunday of October, also known as Remembrance Sunday, marks the 23rd annual tribute to 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers killed in the attack. 

For the Beirut veterans present, many were overcome with emotion as the ceremony unearthed forgotten memories.

“One Marine that was killed was a very good friend of mine,” said Mike Murphy, a lance corporal who was attached to Marine Service Support Group 24 and 21 years old at the time of the attack. “Up until recently, I hadn’t talked about what had happened for more than 20 years.”

For the 21 Beirut service members who are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, their place of valor resides in section 59. Near their marble headstones, the words “Let Peace Take Root” are inscribed on a granite stone beneath the Cedar of Lebanon tree as an eternal reminder of their sacrifice and as a symbol of hope and remembrance.

“I think it’s important for Americans to reflect upon the fact that the current war on terror did not start on Sept. 11, but rather back on, and even before, Oct. 23, 1983,” said Bill Kibler, who was a 20-year-old lance corporal attached to Marine Service Support Group 24 at the time of the attack.

For more information on the service members who lost their lives that day, visit www.beirut-memorial.org.
Headquarters Marine Corps