Lejeune Memorial Gardens keep history alive
By 1st Lt. Sarah E. Burns
| Marine Corps Air Station New River | September 11, 2013
Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. --
Off Montford Point Rd., alongside Highway 24, currently stand three memorials in the Lejeune Memorial Gardens in honor of our fellow countrymen and community members who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The 9/11 World Trade Center Beam is the first memorial visible to the public who are entering the garden from the parking lot. This year, the City of Jacksonville and Onslow County Civic Affairs Committee will conduct the seventh annual Patriot Day Observance Ceremony at 8:15 a.m., Sept. 11, at the memorial with support from Marine Corps Installations East – Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools. The uniform for military attendees is Service “C.”
The large glass walls surrounding a bubbling fountain behind the 9/11 World Trade Center Beam is the Onslow Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The memorial stands as recognition for the nearly ten million Veterans of the Armed Forces who served on active duty during the Vietnam era. It honors the 303,704 service members who were wounded in Vietnam, as well as the POW/MIAs still unaccounted for. The glass walls are inscribed with the names of the 58,229 men and women who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Last year, the annual Vietnam Recognition Day was held late April to remember the unselfish sacrifices so many brave service members gave during the Vietnam War.
The first memorial to be built at this site was the Beirut Memorial. It was a gift from the citizens of Onslow County to honor those men who lived among the community and gave so much. In the early morning of October 23, 1983, the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines Headquarters building was destroyed by a non-Lebanese, terrorist-driven truck, laden with compressed gas-enhanced explosives. The resulting explosion and the collapse of the building killed 241 Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers. In addition to the inscribed names of those who died in Beirut, the names of those who died since from injuries from the blast and the names of the three Marine pilots from our community who were killed in Grenada are written on the wall. The names of the 273 service members are engraved next to the words, ‘THEY CAME IN PEACE.’ This year marks the 30th anniversary of the bombing. On Oct. 23, the City of Jacksonville and the Beirut Memorial Advisory Board will conduct the annual Beirut Memorial Observance Ceremony at 10:30 a.m., at the memorial with support from Marine Corps Installations East – Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools. The uniform for military attendees is Service “A” with garrison cover.