MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines and Sailors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit spent Oct. 23, 2013, remembering the 241 Marines, Sailors and soldiers killed in the Beirut bombing 30 years ago.
They began the day with a memorial run at 6 a.m., the approximate time of the bombing.
Running in remembrance of those who gave all left many of the 24th MEU service members with a sense of honor and pride, said Cpl. James J. Ratliff, a special systems administrator and Jesup, Ga., native who ran for Cpl. Bruce L. Howard, a Strong, Maine, native killed in the Beirut bombing. “He was a corporal of Marines and so am I. Here’s this guy fighting for his country and something like this happens. This is the best way I can remember somebody. Here you go corporal, I’ll run this for you,” said Ratliff.
The runners took turns carrying a U.S. flag from the 24th MEU command building to the Beirut memorial aboard Camp Lejeune in honor of a specific fallen Beirut veteran. Lt. Col. Aaron Adams, acting commanding officer, 24th MEU, presented the flag to Beirut bombing survivors Tony Sutton and John Dalziel.
“It’s important to remember the heritage… to remember those warriors who came before you,” said Dalziel. “We don’t remember those who have come before by putting their name on a wall, the way we honor them is to continue to talk about them.”
The majority of the Marines and Sailors killed in the bombing were assigned to the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit’s, later designated the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, command element and ground combat element, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.