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Photo Information

A Marine with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, places the dog tags of a fallen comrade over the 2/8 commemorative during the battalion’s memorial service aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, August 29. The ceremony was held to honor eight fallen comrades who lost their lives during the battalion’s recent deployment to Afghanistan.

Photo by Cpl. Johnny Merkley

2/8 honors its fallen with heavy hearts

29 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Johnny Merkley

Marines, sailors and family members from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, gathered outside the 2/8 battalion headquarters aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, August 29, to honor eight fallen comrades who lost their lives during the battalion’s recent deployment to Afghanistan.

The fallen Marines made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the United States and help the Afghan people restore their country and move toward a better future.

“There’s nothing harder about being a Marine than losing a Marine,” said Lt. Col. John Harrill, commanding officer for 2/8. “There’s also nothing harder about being a parent than losing a son, or being a wife and losing a husband.”

Family and friends listened as the battalion commander spoke to the crowd about the eight fallen Marines in his battalion and their sacrifices, also giving thanks to the family members who have been through so much over the past year.

“America’s battalion is amazed by your sacrifices – the pain you’ve endured in the name of our freedom and benefit of our nation,” said Harrill. “We sincerely love each of you and each one of your Marines, and now until the end of our days we will extend love to you as a battalion for whatever you need.”

Harrill also read the words and gratitude from many of the Afghan army soldiers, who also expressed their condolences for the loss that 2/8 had endured while they fought together side by side during the deployment.

“They attended our memorial services while we were in combat, they cried over the losses, and they viewed these fallen Marines as their brothers,” said Harrill. “They wanted the family members to know that no matter what happens in the end, none of this will be a waste, because the Afghan people had some good years while your Marines were there.”

Sorrow shot through the eyes of the family members and friends as the ceremony ended with a three-shot volley, followed by the playing of taps. Many of the friends and family made their way to the personalized battalion memorial and the eight pictures of the fallen to say one last farewell before the closing of the ceremony.

“This memorial service will not live long in our memories, but the lives and sacrifices of our honored dead can,” said Lt. Cmdr. William Solomon, battalion chaplain for 2/8. “We have a responsibility to keep alive the memory of those we lived with and served among. It is our duty to never forget the fallen.”