Remembering the US Marines Murdered by Islamic Jihadists in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983

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Published on: October 24, 2014

On OCTOBER 23, 1983, the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, was hit by a truck bomb, killing 241 U.S. military personnel.

On OCTOBER 23, 1985, President Ronald Reagan issued a Proclamation:

“The problem of terrorism has become an international concern that knows no boundaries — religious, racial, political, or national. Thousands of men, women, and children have died at the hands of terrorists in nations around the world, and the lives of many more have been blighted by the fear and grief that terrorist attacks have caused to peace-loving peoples. Today, unfortunately, terrorism continues to claim many innocent lives. Recent events in the Middle East…only serve to remind us of the intolerable threat from terrorists…”

Reagan continued:

“OCTOBER 23 is the second anniversary of the date on which the largest number of Americans was killed in a single act of terrorism — the bombing of the United States compound in Beirut, Lebanon…in which 241 United States servicemen lost their lives. These brave soldiers died defending our cherished ideals of freedom and peace. It is appropriate that we honor these men and all other victims of terrorism… I have hereunto set my hand this 23rd day of OCTOBER, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-five.”

President Ronald Reagan told the Baptist Fundamentalism Annual Convention, April 13, 1984:

“Reverend Falwell…It’s a real pleasure to be with so many who firmly believe that the answers to the world’s problems can be found in the Word of God…On that October day when a terrorist truck bomb took the lives of 241 marines, soldiers, and sailors at the airport in Beirut, one of the first to reach the tragic scene was a chaplain, the chaplain of our 6th Fleet, Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff…

He said, ‘Screams of those injured or trapped were barely audible at first, as our minds struggled to grapple with the reality before us – a massive four-story building, reduced to a pile of rubble; dust mixing with smoke and fire, obscuring our view of the little that was left…Trying to pull and carry those whose injuries appeared less dangerous in an immediate sense than the approaching fire or the smothering smoke-my kippa was lost. (That is the little headgear that is worn by rabbis.)

The last I remember it, I’d used it to mop someone’s brow. Father Pucciarelli, the Catholic chaplain, cut a circle out of his cap – a piece of camouflaged cloth which would become my temporary head-covering. Somehow he wanted those marines to know not just that we were chaplains, but that he was a Christian and that I was Jewish… The words from the prophet Malachi kept recurring to me – words he’d uttered some 2,500 years ago as he had looked around at fighting and cruelty and pain. ‘Have we not all one Father?’ he had asked. ‘Has not one God created us all?…'”

Reagan concluded:

“To understand the role of the chaplain – Jewish, Catholic, or Protestant – is to understand that we try to remind others, and perhaps ourselves as well, to cling to our humanity even in the worst of times…We bring with us the truth that faith not only reminds us of the holy in heaven, but also of the holiness we can create here on Earth…We have within us the power to reflect as God’s creatures the highest values of our Creator. As God is forgiving and – merciful, so can we be.'”

On OCTOBER 23, 1960, John F. Kennedy stated at a Commemorative Concert:

“Americans will never…recognize Soviet domination of Hungary. Hungary’s claim to independence and liberty is not based on sentiment or politics. It is deeply rooted in history, in culture and in law. No matter what sort of puppet government they may maintain, we do not mean to see that claim abandoned. Americans intend to hasten…the day when the men and women of Hungary will stand again in freedom and justice.”

Twenty-nine years after John F. Kennedy’s speech, on OCTOBER 23, 1989, the Communist government in Hungary was officially ended, being replaced by the Hungarian Republic, as declared by its new President Matyas Szuros.

On OCTOBER 23, 1945, President Harry S. Truman addressed a Joint Session of Congress:

“The United States now has a fighting strength greater than at any other time in our history…greater than that of any other nation in the world… We are strong because of the courage…of a liberty loving people who are determined that this nation shall remain forever free… We intend to use all our moral influence and all our physical strength to work for that kind of peace.

We can ensure such a peace only so long as we remain strong. We must face the fact that peace must be built upon power, as well as upon good will and good deeds… It is only by strength that we can impress the fact upon possible future aggressors that we will tolerate no threat to peace or liberty…”

Truman continued:

“In any future war, the heart of the United States would be the enemy’s first target. Our geographical security is now gone–gone with the advent of the robot bomb, the rocket, aircraft carriers and modern airborne armies. The surest guaranty that no nation will dare again to attack us is to remain strong in the only kind of strength an aggressor understands–military power…The moral and spiritual welfare of our young people should be a consideration of prime importance, and, of course, facilities for worship in every faith should be available.”

On OCTOBER 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed:

“We have not only had peace throughout our borders and with the nations of the world but that peace has been brightened by constantly multiplying evidences of genuine friendship…We have seen the practical completion of a great work at the Isthmus of Panama which not only exemplifies the nation’s abundant capacity of its public servants but also promises the beginning of a new age…of co-operation and peace.

‘Righteousness exalteth a nation’ and ‘peace on earth, good will towards men’ furnish the only foundation upon which can be built the lasting achievements of the human spirit…Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday the 27th of November next as a day of thanksgiving and prayer…to…render thanks to Almighty God.”

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