COALDALE — Today marks the 30th anniversary of the bombing of a military base in Beirut, killing more than 200 members of our military. The terror attack may be three decades old, but for some the unfortunate memories remain vivid.
A 21 gun salute, the raising of the Marine Corp flag, and the playing of taps, all were heard and seen in Coaldale’s Veterans Memorial. About 100 people were remembering the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.
Bill Gaddes designed the Veterans Memorial. He knows that 30 years ago the bombing killed 241 marines, soldiers and sailors in the terrorist attack.
“Most people have forgotten this event. This is the largest number of Marines killed in a single day since Iwo Jima in World War II.” Gaddes said.
30 years ago, Frank Navratil was on duty as a Marine guard at an embassy in Beirut. Navratil said his duty was extended which may have saved his life.
“I was supposed to be there for a dentist appointment at 8 o’clock in the morning. When I realized that I was supposed to be there I guess we can just count my blessings.”
Navratil explained the bombing still affects him 30 years later.
“It just plays with your mind because you’re always looking over your shoulder what`s going to happen next or if it’s going to happen.”
The bombing also affected Joseph Jordan. He said he was only 9 years old when the bomb went off.
“I remember the newscast and my mother’s horror. It was a pretty big event in 1983.”
The folks in the Coaldale area are very proud of this memorial which was placed here to honor all branches of the military.