Beirut Veterans of America
For Immediate Release
Veterans/Family Groups Remember Fallen Heroes 30 Years Later
Remembrance Will Be Held Oct. 22-23, 2013 at Beirut Memorial, Jacksonville, N.C.
The Beirut Veterans of America (BVA) and The Beirut Connection will remember fallen heroes who were killed 30 years ago on October 23, 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon. On that day, a terrorist truck bomb exploded in a barracks, killing 241 servicemen, mostly Marines and some Sailors and Soldiers, and injuring many others.
The Remembrance also honors the service of those who participated 55 years ago during the 1958 Beirut landing and scores of other servicemen who died and were wounded in Beirut during 1982 through 1984. A total of 270 were killed in Beirut and hundreds more injured during that time frame.
The 1983 bombing was the most serious terrorist act against Americans ever experienced at that time and a precursor of what was to come. Parallels have been drawn between it and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It has been confirmed that some of the same terrorists were involved in both.
The BVA is a veteran’s group formed in 1992 to ensure that the servicemen killed in Beirut are always remembered. The Beirut Connection is a group of families who joined together soon after the bombing to mourn their deceased men in Beirut and have stayed together since.
The groups will mark the 30th Remembrance October 22-23 at Camp Lejeune, in Jacksonville, N.C., home of the Beirut Memorial. The memorial includes a wall with the names of all those killed during the Marine “peacekeeping” mission in Beirut, Lebanon from 1982-84 and during the Grenada rescue mission. In all, 273 gave their lives in the name of freedom there, and many others were injured, some permanently.
The 30th Remembrance will feature a private candlelight vigil at the Memorial at 6 a.m. on October 23rd, where all the names on the wall will be read aloud by family members and fellow service men and women.
“Reading their names aloud ensures that these men are remembered for their courage and their sacrifice,” says Bob Jordan, a retired Marine Corps major and the founding president of the BVA. This sentiment echoes the BVA motto, “The First Duty is to Remember.”
At 10:30 a.m. on the 23rd, there will be a special ceremony held at the Memorial, featuring guest speakers, military band music, a memorial wreath presentation. A senior officer from Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. will be dispatched by the Commandant of the Marine Corps to speak at the event.
President Ronald Reagan first sent Marines to Beirut in 1982 to assist in the evacuation of 600 civilians from 2 dozen countries out of Beirut when political unrest made the area unsafe. Some small Navy and Army units were attached to Marine units. Later, they helped see to the safe evacuation of Yassar Arafat and his 15,000-man PLO army from Beirut.
Marines were called in again as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force to try and keep the peace while Lebanon’s government had a chance to reform after the assassination of President Bashir Gemayel. Meanwhile, President Reagan authorized a successful military intervention to rescue American students threatened by a communist regime in Grenada. The unit that was on ships heading to Beirut to relieve the Marine unit decimated by the bombing was diverted to carry out the Grenada mission.
The Beirut deployment started quietly, but gradually hostilities among the many warring factions in Beirut drew the Marines into increasing levels of involvement. The hostilities peaked with the truck bombing and continued until President Reagan withdrew the forces in 1984.
Marines had also been sent to Beirut in 1958 on a similar mission, but one that ended without a similar turn of events as in the 1982-84 deployment. That deployment is credited with delaying the Lebanese civil war for almost two decades.
Those interested in more information or photos about the Marines in Beirut can go to the official BVA website at www.beirutveterans.org.
Note to BVA and Family Members about this News Release:
This news release is provided for BVA members who may want to go to their local news media to tell them about the upcoming 30th Remembrance. This document gives you something to take to the media and leave with them for reference; download either the Word or PDF copy, print the first two pages and take it with you. It provides basic information about the 30th Remembrance. You may also refer media to the BVA website at www.beirutveterans.org for more information. If you are a Beirut vet or family member, you may want to consider telling your own story as it relates to the Beirut operations from 1958 through 2006. By so doing, you help carry on the BVA motto: The First Duty Is To Remember.