WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2013 – In a statement marking the 30th anniversary of the suicide bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut, President Barack Obama honored the fallen service members, their families and the survivors who worked to free the victims from the rubble.
Here is the president’s statement:
Thirty years ago, 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and 3 soldiers lost their lives to a Hizballah suicide bomber who attacked the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Minutes later, 58 French paratroopers lost their lives when a second Hizballah suicide bomber attacked the French barracks. This despicable act of terrorism was the deadliest single-day death toll for the U.S. Marine Corps since the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima. Our Marines and their fellow service members were serving in Beirut as part of a multinational force during the Lebanese civil war, to help bring stability to a troubled region and to defend our strategic interests in the Middle East. They came in peace.
Our 241 service members will be remembered in ceremonies at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, at the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, and in homes around the United States. We join with the families and their loved ones in paying tribute to the fallen and in sharing our deep appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice made in service to our nation. We also honor the courage and bravery of those warriors who survived the attack and spent days digging their brothers out of the rubble. They were faithful to their comrades in arms and served with honor and distinction in the finest tradition of the U.S. military.
The proud history of the U.S. military continues today as our service members risk their lives around the world to promote freedom and security and to deter terrorism. We are grateful for their sacrifices and honored by their commitment to defending our nation, our citizens, and our values.
We also renew our commitment to promoting Lebanon’s stability, sovereignty, and independence and to our partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces. We continue to support the Lebanese people as they seek to form a government that reflects their aspirations and that will strengthen Lebanon’s ability to defend its national interests and meet its international obligations.