Six years ago Tim Edquist, nephew of Thomas Thorstad, started a new job. His mom Janice invited him to the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville. He declined the invitation since he just started a new job. On October 23 he went to work and was riding with his boss who asked if he knew that it was the anniversary of the Beirut Bombing. He replied that yes, his mom had asked him to go to North Carolina for the memorial. His supervisor was surprised and asked why he would be going. Tim explained that his uncle was killed there. His boss, who was even more shocked at this point, replied that his brother, Edward A. Johnston was killed there. What a small world! Charlie then invited him to the memorial in Struthers, Ohio. The following year Janice and Tim attended the Struthers, Ohio memorial. While there, the Johnston family encouraged her to build a memorial and start a service in Indiana. Janice did years of research to identify everyone who was killed from Indiana. She identified a beautiful Veterans Park that has a replica wall with the names of over 1600 men from Indiana who were killed in Vietnam. She spoke to the Veterans Park and they were happy to have a Beirut Memorial Stone there. The community really came together to make this memorial happen. With input from the family, Janice’s nephew designed a beautiful memorial stone. The dedication took place on September 21 and had over 160 people in attendance, including several Beirut Veterans. They plan on having an annual memorial event there.
It is special to see what can be done when one family encourages another family and a community comes together. Through this tragedy, we are all connected and are a part of one big special family.