Thirty four years ago today, 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers lost their lives when the Marine Barracks in Beirut Lebanon were destroyed by a suicide bomber. Although many years have passed since that day, the memory of the fallen will remain a strong symbol of Marine Corps History. For most people, however, the day will pass like any other. We will go to work, drink our coffee and do what we need to do. And unless you are a Marine or a family member of the fallen, this day probably does not mean much to you.
Ossining High School lies just off of South Highland Avenue as you make your through the center of town. About thirty feet from the sidewalk lies a stone in front of a tree that was planted for one such Marine. LCpl Craig Wyche, a 1982 graduate of Ossining High School, was sleeping in the Barracks on that fateful day in October 1983 when his life was cut short and his sacrifice became part of Marine Corps lore. I mention this for two reasons-One, I am a Marine and two, I have worked at Ossining High School now for over eighteen years.
Over the years I have passed by the stone many times and each time I stop and pay respects to my fallen brother. A Marine brother, but a brother nonetheless.
While it is important to honor the service of veterans of every era, we need to especially show reverence to those who have given their lives in the line of duty. Although the reasons we initially choose to serve may be different, we all have a love for our country that says we are prepared to give our lives if we need to. That is why it is called the “Ultimate Sacrifice.”
So when you are home today eating dinner or perhaps drinking a beer, think about those 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers who gave their lives thirty four years ago. Don’t let them become just another memory.