CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Monday will mark 40 years since 11 Virginians were killed in a terrorist attack on U.S. service members on a peacekeeping mission in Beirut.
Hundreds gathered Sunday ahead of the official ceremony at Camp Lejeune to honor and remember the 273 service members killed in Lebanon's capital on Oct. 23, 1983.
Some touched the wall of the memorial, while others used pencils to etch out the names of the fallen, which include 241 Marines from Camp Lejeune.
For some who visit the memorial, which sits on military property and was paid for by private donations, their trip is about more than just paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“Part of this for us is honoring the ones who were there after the tragedy, after the bombing, who spent time cleaning up and making sure the bodies were returned home properly. My unit did that,” Mike Puckett, a Marine who served in Beirut, said.
The memorial includes the names of the victims on the memorial's left side, the words, "they came in peace" on the right side, and in between the two walls is a bronze statue of a Marine with his rifle.
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