Gabrielle Falco - 2020 Award

Tampa, FL

July 4, 2020

Link. Gabrielle Falco and Chip Shields Image

Personal Story

My father is Lebanese, he moved to America after nearly missing a bomb twice. Although it doesn’t seem overly significant to Americans on a daily basis, seeing half of my family subjected to unrest in the Middle East on a daily basis has allowed me to acknowledge truths Americans (myself included) have been ignorant of. I wanted to write this essay to speak out for my family and other families that have either personally been impacted by terrorism or have lost someone to it. May we always remember.


Eight hundred marines were deployed to protect Lebanon and coordinate the Palestinian withdrawal. The goal was to provide peace to Lebanon between Muslim and Christian groups after a decade of war prior. Sadly, on October 23rd, 1983 a suicide bomber killed 241 marine peacekeepers in what is known as the, "deadliest attack against US Marines since the battle over Iwo Jima in 1945."

This attack was unlike all others. It had the biggest non-nuclear explosion since WWII. This was just the beginning, for more to come; including: The bombing of the Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia, the USS coal bombing in Yemen, and 9/11, (the start of the campaign, "War on Terror"). Sgt. Stephen Russell, a survivor says that the perpetrators of the attacks are observing the United States and that, "they built their playbook overtime, When the marines pulled out in 1984 Osama Bin Laden and many others were watching. They had tested us militarily, they had tested us spiritually, they had tested politically." Russell believes that playing defense to the blows that come won’t fix anything. If we sit back and allow this to happen then nothing will get better.

When we look at the recent terrorist attacks on an international level we see that the Middle East does not want any foreign countries to intervene with their history. The reason for attacks cannot be simply explained. There are thousands of years of turmoil rooted from various religious and ethnic beliefs. Countries are more cautious than ever of the next terrorist attack. In this case, the Hezbollah (the group responsible for this attack) are promoting terrorism for more groups to come.