OCTOBER 23, 1983 BEIRUT BOMBING IN LEBANON
On Sunday, October 23, 1983 at approximately 6:20 a.m. 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed and hundreds of others were wounded or disabled. This was the result of a suicide truck, laden with explosives carrying the equivalent of 20,000 pounds of TNT that detonated on the ground floor of BLT 1/8 headquarters barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The largest non-nuclear explosion of its time. Other servicemen from 1982-1984 perished from sniper fire and other atrocities. Others died years later or are permanent disabled as the result of their wounds. This makes a total of 270 Marines, sailors and soldiers that died during a peacekeeping mission.
October 27th 1983 President Ronald W. Reagan broadcasted a speech to the American people about the BLT 1/8 24th MAU headquarters barracks bombing. Here is a quote from his speech seconds before closing, “They were not afraid to stand up for their country or, no matter how difficult and slow the journey might be, to give to others that last, best hope of a better future. We cannot and will not dishonor them now and the sacrifices they’ve made by failing to remain as faithful to the cause of freedom and the pursuit of peace as they have been.”
(Update: President Reagan’s Remarks at the Baptist Fundamentalism Annual Convention, April 13, 1984. With enormous thanks to Rabbi Arnold E Resnicoff)
In 1986 a contingent of Gold star mothers, wives and family members of the 270 fallen heroes descended on Washington, DC their mission….. To get postage stamp unveiled and issued to honor Americas fallen sons. This trip turned out to be fruitless. On September 14th, 1993 armed with over 20,000 signatures from American citizens, family members and comrades the trek was again made to our nation’s capitol. The bevy was met with opposition and excuses, not to issue and honor the fallen and peacekeepers with a commemorative postage stamp.
For seventeen years, numerous people have petitioned the USPS and CSAC to unveil and issue this stamp. On January 31st, 2003 Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr. R-NC 3rd District introduced H.Res. 45 expressing the sense of the congress that a postage stamp is issued in remembrance of the victims of the peacekeeping mission in Beirut, Lebanon 1982-1984. As of yet, because of lack of 50 congressional signatures co-sponsoring this measure has not made it to the complete house for a vote. The killed in action came from 33 states, the District of Columbia, a territory: Puerto Rico and an allied country: United Kingdom. You do the math………
Over the years stamps have been unveiled and issued in series and individually for many of this nations politicians, cartoon characters, actors, insects, birds, Racehorses, rock stars, Santa Claus, composers, flowers….. The list is endless. If the USPS and CSAC feel that these stamps and numerous more are worthy of casting a stamp die to commemorate their moment of fame, the consensus of the families, citizens and comrades of the fallen heroes is to “do the right thing” and unveil and issue a postage stamp to honor the peacekeeping mission in Beirut, Lebanon 1982-1984.
Americans can be proud to live in a country where the rights of others are treasured and protected by rules codified as law. Where good men stood ready to die to protect those laws and the people who live under them……. including the people who decide who and what deserves a stamp.
The time for a postage stamp is here and now!
Written by Charles Hall, SSGT, USMC, Retired