Friday, October 23, 2009
The names on the wall were read. Each Panel of the names of the young men who died between 1982 and 1984, are lifted up. Some names pronounced with a southern drawl, some names with a Midwestern accent, and some names read silently in the hearts of those who held their candles closely. Families of some of the slain men, read the panel that their son was listed on. Veterans read some names on the panels where their Brothers were. All the names, all the faces, every life remembered, cherished, and respected.
You see, on every October 23rd a candlelight service is held at the Beirut memorial in Jacksonville North Carolina. It starts promptly at 6 Am and ends at 6:23. That is for a reason. On the quiet Sunday Morning in Beirut Lebanon, on the 23rd of October 1983, a Homicidal Bomber drove his truck loaded with explosives into the Headquarters of the Marines in Beirut. It was the largest non-nuclear explosion we have known. That day 241 Marines were killed in their sleep and while on duty. During the entire Beirut War more than 270 Marines were Killed.
On that October morning in Beirut, the world took little notice of the whirlwind that would follow this massive blast. Yes, the deaths of the Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers, would be mourned terribly, but the World did not realize the War on terrorism had begun. There was no official "Day of Infamy" speech by the President, there was no act of Congress, but be assured that the Radical Islamic forces at work today, point to that day as their crowning glory, their "Pearl Harbor" without the retribution.
Since that day we have slept here in the United States, preferring to bargain with the oil dictators then to avenge our young peacekeepers sacrifices. We were jarred awake on 9/11, but only for a short time, until again our greed and complacency settled over us again. Today, we try again to negotiate with the ones who murdered our young men. Today the ringleader of the killings is welcomed into our Country to speak at the UN in New York. Today, that Country has nuclear weapons, and yet we still seek to negotiate, to placate. There was a time when we should have retaliated, but now, our enemy ,Radical Islam, is at our doorstep, ringing our doorbell, banging on our door, we look through our peephole and see the Monster of Radical Islam, but we just pretend he is not there and will go away.
The names are read. Each panel completed. The candles are extinguished. I blow out my candle. I noticed my tears are falling again, as they always do on this day, they hit my wrist one after another. We mourn for our Sons, our Husbands, Our Nephews, our Brother in Laws, our Brothers in Arms. We know they did a noble act. They kept the peace, and were murdered for it.
For now, we remember them as young men, full of the vision and fullness of life.
The Sun is coming up now in Jacksonville North Carolina. Another day for the people of America filled with all the daily joys and problems we all face. Take a minute out today, just a minute, 60 seconds, and remember the sacrifice of those men, the men who gave their lives for our freedom to live free. The War on Terrorism began 26 years ago today. The Beirut Veterans of America have a motto it reads... "The First Duty is To Remember". Let us remember and never forget.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God"
Semper Fidelis !