Beirut Memorial Observance and Community Response
Just days before the Beirut Memorial Observance scheduled to take place 2PM, October 23 at Lejeune Memorial Gardens, yellow ribbons are being hung in honor of those families who are coming to visit the Beirut Memorial for the observance and to remember their loved ones who died as a result of the bombing on October 23, 1983.
On Tuesday, Northwoods Middle School students visited the Beirut Memorial, made yellow ribbons and learn from survivors of the bombing and from those local historians who continue to tell the story of the peace mission that our local Marines participated in and the tragedy that ensued in Beirut, Lebanon.
Yellow Ribbon Deployment - Northwoods Middle School students in the 1980s came up with the idea to raise funds and plant the original memorial grove of trees on Freedom Way. Most of the original Bradford Pear trees are still standing, and bloom every spring. The tradition continues to hang yellow ribbons annually and the current group of students will be at the newer Memorial Grove of Chinese Pistache trees located along route 17 across from the entrance to Camp Geiger Thursday, October 20 at 10 AM. They will hang the yellow ribbons they made this week on each of the trees in memory of those who died. Members of the Beirut Advisory Board and Beirut survivors will be there to lend a hand.
241 Mile Run - At noon on Thursday, October 20 members of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines will run 241 miles in shifts on a loop around the Lejeune Memorial Gardens to remember each of the Marines who lost their lives. The Marines are expected to finish their run late Sunday morning before the Beirut Memorial Observance.
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The Beirut Memorial Observance (from a release sent earlier this week)
Annual Event Honoring Fallen Service Members Marks 39th Anniversary
The annual observance to mark the 39th anniversary of the October 23, 1983 Beirut bombing will be held at the Beirut Memorial on Sunday, October 23, 2022 at 2:00PM. The observance will honor the fallen service members and survivors who served in Lebanon from 1958 to 1984 and in Grenada. This year’s observance is open to the public and members of the media.
The observance is an annual event organized by the City of Jacksonville Beirut Memorial Advisory Board in cooperation with the City of Jacksonville, Marine Corps Installations East, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The Beirut Memorial Address will be given by LtGen David A. Ottignon, Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
General Al Gray, USMC (Retired) the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps is expected to attend and speak at the observance. General Gray was the commander of the 2d Marine Division at the time of the Beirut Bombing, and became part of the face of the response by the US Military and for the families of those lost.
Remarks will also be made by BGen Andrew Niebel Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations East, serving his 5th tour of duty here at Camp Lejeune.
LtCol William Kerrigan, Commanding Officer, 1st Bn, 8th Marine Regiment and MGySgt Salvador D. Lopez, Operation Chief, 1st Bn, 8th Marine Regiment; as well as Operations Officer, as well as BGen Andrew Niebel, Commanding General MCIEAST and Col Garth W. Burnett, Commanding Officer for MCAS New River will participate in the laying of the wreaths. Representatives from 1/8 Marines are key members of this observance as their battalion was deployed in Beirut during the bombing, and it was their barracks building for the 1/8 Battalion Landing Team (BLT) that was bombed October 23, 1983.
Mayor Sammy Phillips is the sixth Mayor to repeat the words “We will not forget” to the families of those who have names on the wall. It has become the solemn duty of the Jacksonville Mayor to renew the pledge at each observance. Together, the Mayor and the command of Camp Lejeune appoint members to Beirut Memorial Advisory Board whose duty it is to organize and perform the annual observance.
The event will air on the Jacksonville-Onslow Government channel (G10TV), on www.G10TV.org, on social media and through the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN) via the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System at www.DVIDShub.net.
In the event of inclement weather, the observance will take place inside City Hall, 815 New Bridge Street.