As the year comes to end, you, the Members, have been busy, always keeping in your thoughts and prayers those young men whose lives were taken so long ago from 1958 to those in the mid-1990s.

To those who were not able to attend the Membership meeting on the 22nd of October, I'll provide you with a brief overview.

Michael Gaines presented a 15-minute presentation on a Memorial being erected in Port Charlotte Florida that will hopefully be done in 2020.

The BVA Scholarship was finalized and 7 Members volunteered to be on the Scholarship Committee to oversee those applications submitted.

Mr. Combs from Wellington Arms did a 15-minute presentation on the Beirut Veterans Commemorative Pistol. Two were purchased/ordered that day. 

Amazon smiles can be used for donations to the BVA. In 2019, we took in a little over 50 dollars from the program.

There are currently 3 Banners that can be utilized for activities that you, the members, can set up through your local veteran's groups. Use the contact button on the BVA Website to provide the board with the mailing address you want the banner sent to; once you send it back you can be reimbursed for your postage.

While at these functions you are representing those we honor every day by your actions (I know this goes without saying but it was brought up at the USO Meeting).

People are playing Pokemon Go on the memorial grounds and we've contacted the base and the company to make that a closed out zone on the Geotags.

The 2020 Octoberfest will also be held in Jacksonville starting the 22nd of October so hotels may go quick.  Information on hotels will be out in early summer.

The Inaugural Beirut Ruck was a great success for the first year with over 50 people participating in the 10.23 mile hike. Canned goods were collected and donated to the local women's center.

New people (members and associates) joined while at the USO. We have been informed this was the largest turnout to an off-year memorial. The Jacksonville Advisory Committee ran out of the 1,300 pamphlets on the 23rd's service.

Alan Opra and Jack MacDonald helped run the raffle, and it was a huge success.

If you hear of one of our Brothers or Gold Star Family members passing, please use the contact button on the BVA Website so the appropriate actions can be taken.

If you sponsor or assist in Memorial services and have pictures or know of Memorial services coming up, once again use the website's contact button, as far out as you can, and send pictures after so we can get the information into the RSII.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2020.

"The First Duty is to Remember"

Semper Fi.

Myron Kyle

President, BVA

The Beirut Memorial Ruck, open to 300 participants, will begin at the Jacksonville Beirut Memorial and travel along the greenway to Camp Lejeune’s Main gate and back to the Memorial. This route parallels the original memorial trees originally planted in honor of the fallen. The ruck is 10.23 miles, representing the month and day of the bombing. Participants are encouraged to carry a weighted pack though it is not mandatory; the participation fee is $35.

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.   

If you are planning on attending the Parris Island graduation and tour, please take note of the important information below. 

Agenda:

0700- Arrival

0730-0815: Morning Colors
0845-1000: Graduation Ceremony
1000-1100: Museum Tour
1100-1130: Squadbay Tour
1130-1230: Luncheon at Traditions

You need to arrive by 0700.  Try to carpool from your hotel.  Make your hotel reservations ASAP if you haven’t already done so.

https://www.beirutveterans.org/announcements?id=69F0A2A5-CBC4-4FDE-B0A6-DE344B28EBD1

The general membership meeting will be held on October 22, 2019 at 1400 at the USO.  Be early, there will be a raffle and items for purchase.  A custom-designed Wellington firearm will also be there for you to see in person.