MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The memorial ceremony started with everyone taking their seats as music played and pictures of the fallen Marines were displayed.
Family members, fellow Marines and friends all gathered together to honro the heroes from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division in a ceremony here Sept. 22.
“Not one of these men would have wanted to be called a hero,” explained Lt. Col. Stephen Neary, battalion commander. “Many of them after being injured wanted to continue the mission and ensure the mission was accomplished.”
Eight Marines were honored during the ceremony for the ultimate sacrifice they and their families made for their country. Scriptures were read and friends spoke to the families on behalf of each Marine.
“It takes family, friends, good times and bad times to shape such outstanding men,” stated the battalion chaplain, Navy Lt. Robert E. Bradshaw.
Families of the lost had a chance to hear about their sons, brothers and fathers as Neary, Bradshaw and a few Marines came forward to speak about their brothers-in-arms. Hearing the Marines speak brought tears to many family members and fellow Marines in attendance.
“Few people truly live life,” Bradshaw said. “Our fallen brothers, each of them lived with a purpose and lived for others…they did not simply exist, they lived.”
Each of the Marines who gave his life was more concerned about how his fellow Marines were doing and was very adamant about being back in the fight with them.
“Once they realized they were going to be evacuated, another concern would arrive; they were more concerned about leaving their brothers behind on the battlefield and [that] they couldn’t stay with them,” Neary explained.
Many of the men who died joined after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. They were among the men and women who decided to join and do their part for the country.
“They answered the national call by our President when he said ‘Americans do not have the distance of history, our responsibility to history is already clear’ these men understood this calling and sense of responsibility and joined the Marine Corps,” Neary stated. “These Marines will live on as long as there is a 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines.”
The Marines honored in the ceremony were Pfc. Stephen P. Baldwyn, Gunnery Sgt. Terry W. Ball, Lance Cpl. Marcus Mahdee, Lance Cpl. Robert T. Mininger, Cpl. John T. Olson, Lance Cpl. Michael V. Postal, Lance Cpl. Taylor B. Prazynski, and Lance Cpl. John T. Schmidt.
“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world, but the Marines don’t have that problem,” Ronald Regan, former President of the United States of America.