Marines and sailors with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division pay respects to the Marines that sacrificed their lives during their last deployment to Afghanistan during a memorial ceremony held Oct. 8, 2010 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Each fallen Marine is represented by a battlefield cross and a portrait.
Marines and sailors of 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Regiment, gather with friends and family aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct. 8, 2010 to witness the unveiling of a statue dedicated to the Marines killed in action during the battalion's last deployment to Afghanistan.
|Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. (MCN - 10/12/2010)|
Death is an inevitable part of life. Some reach ripe old ages and blink out of existence while others may be gone well before their time. It is never a joyous occasion when life is plucked prematurely, but either old or young, the actions performed and memories left behind will, in a sense, make them immortal.
On Oct. 8, 2010, the Marines and sailors from 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, gathered with friends and family to honor and preserve the memories of the Marines who sacrificed all during the battalion's last deployment.
During their combat deployment to Afghanistan, the battalion lost 10 Marines.
Prayers and biblical verses were rendered on behalf of the fallen Marines as their family and peers somberly sat in reflection of the ones they lost.
“They were our brothers,” said Lt. Col. Michael A. Manning, the battalions commanding officer. “They fought side by side with us day in and day out, we shared everything. We will always hold a place in our hearts and our thoughts for these brothers.”
Each Marine was represented by a battlefield cross in front of their portrait. Consisting of boots, rifle and kevlar helmet, the cross is a sign of respect to the fallen Marines.
A final roll call was performed where Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey M. Cullen, the battalion's sergeant major, called out each Marines name while the addressed Marines battlefield cross was finalized with their dog tags, completing the display.
“All of these Marines were true warriors,” said Capt. Nathan B. Chandler, the commander of Company C. “God bless you, you will not be forgotten.”
The stage was opened to the audience to come and say their final good-byes. Tears and stifled sobs echoed throughout the crowd. Hands were placed on the kevlars and dog tags were kissed. Each mourner received closure in their own manner.
“We were very good friends,” said Cpl. Justin D. Palmer, a team leader in Company A, 1st platoon, in reflection of Lance Cpl. Thomas E. Rivers. “He was a real caring guy who always put his job and Marines before anything else. I want him to know that I love him and miss him very much. I really appreciate everything he has done.”
A statue was dedicated in honor and memory of the fallen Marines at the conclusion of the ceremony. The statue stands so that all who see it can remember what the brave young men gave and preserves their actions throughout time.
“They unflinchingly went into battle with no hesitation,” said Manning. “They are the true heroes of this nation.”