MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The roll was called inside the protestant chapel here Nov. 8, but unfortunately three did not respond.
The memorial service was for three Marines; Lance Cpl. Dale G. Peterson and Lance Cpl. Johnathan E. Kirk, combat engineers with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, and Lance Cpl. Walter K. O’Haire, an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II MEF.
“The only reason we are able to keep these freedoms is because of sacrifices made by those like who we are honoring today,” Col. William F. Mullen, commanding officer of 2nd Bn, 6th Marines said.
The families of the fallen lined the front pews, while every other space in the building was filled up by Marines who served with them. Not a sound was made as Mullen spoke about remembering them.
“Remember them as they were, full of life and enthusiasm,” he said. “They are now waiting for us when our time comes. God bless them.”
While three portraits of the Marines were displayed in front of the American flag, Lt. Col. Mark A. Brennan, commanding officer of 2nd CEB, said a few words of his own about families.
“The family has brought honor to their fellow loved ones through prayer and perseverance,” Brennan said. “They brought honor to their families through their heroic service.”
Brennan then spoke about the lives of Peterson and Kirk.
“The saying has always been ‘We’re looking for a few good men,” he said. “In Kirk and Peterson, we found what we were looking for; a few good men.”
Close friends of the fallen chose to say a few words about the times they spent with them.
“(O’Haire) was a great friend, and a great Marine second,” Cpl. Jamar D. Brooks, infantryman with Company G, 2nd Bn, 6th Marines, said. “He is now reunited with his father.”
O’Haire joined the Marine Corps as a dying wish of his father’s. His fellow Marines are happy to know he is now reunited with the one man he respected most.
The roll call was then sounded and both companies were called to attention. Tears ran down the faces of loved ones, both family and Marine brothers alike.
The sound of a bugle then flared as “TAPS” played throughout the church, offering one last goodbye to the Marines who gave their lives.
In the words of the Marine’s Prayer, “Protect my family. Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm.”
The words of each speaker that day made it clear that the three young men who gave their lives lived by that idea each day.