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In Support of Ukrainian Marines

     Conflict has a way of bringing closer those who together experienced that conflict.  People who ordinarily would have formed no particularly special bond outside of a shared event, suddenly may become related to each other in a way that resembles family after having together experienced the same life changing and life-threatening events. And while there are differences that often lead to frustrating and harsh interactions even in the best of families, the bond remains.  What maintains the bond is memory and a willingness to act on that memory.

     Beirut Veterans of America is an organization of people that excels at promoting and celebrating memory.  It’s right in our slogan – “The First Duty Is to Remember”.  It’s an organization made up of people who want to remember the good -- to remember the good in those who, for now, remain on this earth and in whom we served with, as well as the good in those who may be elsewhere and in whom with, we also served.  We are both those who went over and those who worried for our safe return, sometimes in vain.

     But the act of remembering also involves being aware of the present.  While it is true that the conflict in the Ukraine does not directly involve the United States, it should not deter us as members of this organization to experience some form of empathy and even a sense of camaraderie for those Ukrainian marines who are fighting in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine for what might be considered the defense of democratic ideals in the region and probably the world.

     Political opinion obviously plays a role in one’s decision to render support to anything, but if there is any group deserving of recognition by the Beirut Veterans of America, it is to a group who calls themselves Marines and who, arguably, now fight for right and freedom.  While it is true that our organization is made up of people from every branch of service, it is natural for us to extend our hand in recognition and respect to those of the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade who, in many ways, are now just like we were back then – under fire and standing their ground.  Let us remember them while they are alive and never forget them when they fall.

Eric Lewis

April 13th, 2022

1st Platoon, Echo Company, 2/6 attached to 24th MAU in October, 1983 (at Checkpoint 76) after the bombing; previously with 22nd MAU earlier in 1983.