If you lived anywhere near eastern North Carolina or were serving in the US military in the early 1980s, you remember where you were 25 years ago today. This is the anniversary of the tragic truck bombing at Beirut, Lebanon.
I was about to turn 16 and was awakened especially early that cool October morning. My mom was shaking me and crying out, "the Marine barracks have been bombed! Many Marines have been killed! We may be going to war!"
She was right to be upset. We lived in the small suburb of Trent Woods, just outside of New Bern, and just down the road from both Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station and Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville. My brother and I went to school with kids from Marine families and we had Marine families living in our neighborhood. To us, this hit home. We worried and prayed, and prayed and worried.
We prayed for those brave Marines who had been sleeping when the truck hit their building, and who had no advance warning of the attack. The news footage that day showed the survivors running outdoors, many clad only in their underwear. At the time, it was the largest non-nuclear explosion ever recorded.
We didn't enter the war on terror until years later, and we never did attack the two nations responsible, Iran and Syria.
It was the worst tragedy for the Corps since Iwo Jima. Claudia Rodgers, of Raleigh, who was serving in the Marines at the time, told KCC "I was based in Chicago then, and I attended a lot of funerals."
We must never forget what happened. That day was our nation's wake-up call. The terrorists have been after us since, even attacking us on our own soil.
Let's use this day as the perfect chance to thank our brave Marines, and all members of the United States Military, for their service to our nation. Thank them for keeping us free and for fighting the terrorists that threaten that freedom everywhere.
For More Information: Visit the Beirut Memorial on Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville or visit their site online, here.