NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Friday marks 37 years since 241 Marines, soldiers and sailors were killed in a terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon.
A terrorist drove a truck equipped with bombs into the barracks at the Marine Corps base on this day in 1983. The 1,800 Marines were in Beirut at the time on a peace-keeping mission.
Among them was USMC Colonel, Miles Burdine.
Miles spoke to his daughter Good Morning Nashville anchor, Nikki, about that day and why it’s so important to remember.
“I remember several years later I didn’t want to talk about it, never did until my good friend Chuck Dallachie, who was in the barracks when it blew up. He survived. He said, “Why are you being so selfish?” I said, “what are you talking about?” He said, “why don’t you want to talk about what happened that day? Do you not remember what the motto is for the Beirut Veteran’s Association? Our first duty is to remember,” Miles remembered. And from that day on I continued to talk about what happened on that terrible day in 1983.”
Colonel Burdine was just blocks away from the blast at the US Embassy at the time and remembers hearing the blasts.
“I went to the guard shack, and that’s where I heard the radio chatter between two company commanders, and one of them said, the battalion headquarters is gone. He was asked to repeat that, and he said, ‘it’s gone.’ I then immediately knew something horrible had happened.”
Colonel Burdine said now every year on this day, he talks to his friends who were also there that day to remember.
“The one thing I always think about on this day, is our band of brothers. Many probably have seen the series called “Band of Brothers,” and think that phrase came from that movie but it did not. Band of Brothers came from Shakespeare. A play called King Henry the 5th, and it’s sort of a battle cry now. It’s sort of a toast, a way we remember those who died in whatever battle.”
The annual observance to mark the 37th anniversary of the attacks will be held at the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville, NC. This year, due to COVID-19, the service will be held virtually. It can be watched on the Jacksonville-Onslow Government channel at www.G10TV.org.