30 years ago, on Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide bomber drove into the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut. That anniversary marks a painful one for the friends and families of the 241 marines, soldiers and sailors who died that day.
On Oct. 23 2013, in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, thousands of people gathered to remember those who died.
Kentucky marine, major Robert Jordan, was in Beirut the day those marines, soldiers and sailors were killed.
“I heard the loudest explosion I had heard in my life,” major Jordan said.
Outside, the barracks he typically slept in, were gone.
“I saw a fine grey dust from pulverized concrete that covered everything that was living or dead,” he said.
The dead he would soon realize were everywhere.
“And saw what I thought was a broken tree trunk, and I realized as I saw blood, it was the leg of some young man,” major Jordan remembers.
What was supposed to be a peace-keeping mission, would soon be remembered as the first terrorist attack on Americans.
“These people who did not respect peace took the opportunity to slaughter them as they slept,” major Jordan said.
Each year, the anniversary is all too often glazed over. Something major Jordan has dedicated his life to fixing.
“First duty is to remember, the other duty is to never forget,” he says.
Major Jordan lives in Maryland now where he teaches.
This story is personal to LEX18’s Nikki Burdine, whose father is a colonel in the Marine Corps and was In Beirut during the bombing. It’s where her father was when she was born. Nikki says she is one of the lucky ones because her father was not hurt and she got to grow up with a dad, but 241 other families were not as fortunate.
For more information about the Beirut Veterans of America, visit http://www.beirutveterans.org/