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In Pictures: Every day is Memorial Day at Camp Lejeune
By Tom Adkinson
May 17, 2024


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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – Memorial Day is the last Monday in May, but every day is Memorial Day at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. An accessible part of the 150,000-acre base is the site of the Lejeune Memorial Gardens, where there is a somber remembrance of 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers who were killed Oct. 23, 1983, while part of a peacekeeping mission in Beirut, Lebanon. In addition to their names, the memorial proclaims, “They came in peace.” This portion of the base also includes a memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War, tributes to Black Marines who trained here when segregation prevailed and an emotional statue honoring hospital corpsmen who tend to wounded comrades on the battlefield.


‘They came in peace’

camp lejeune statute
The statue of one Marine symbolizes the 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers killed in a terrorist attack on their barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983. The service members were serving in a multinational peacekeeping force during the Lebanon Civil War. Image by Tom Adkinson


Running in remembrance

lejeune memorial gardens annual run
Every October, active-duty Marines and others, sometimes even children, run 241 laps through the Lejeune Memorial Gardens, one lap for each of the service members who died in the 1983 Beirut bombing. Image by Tom Adkinson


Vietnam Memorial honors all services

vietnam veterans memorial camp lejeune
A memorial to the more than 58,000 U.S. personnel who died in the Vietnam War is near the Beirut Marine memorial at Lejeune Memorial Gardens. Image by Tom Adkinson

A duty to protect

camp lejeune hospital corpsmen
This statue dedicated to hospital corpsmen depicts a corpsman shielding a wounded comrade from further injury. Part of the corpsman’s pledge says, “I will dedicate my heart, mind and strength to the work before me.” Image by Tom Adkinson


Recognizing the Montford Point Marines

montford point marines memorial
The first Blacks to enlist in the Marines trained not at Camp Lejeune, but in segregated facilities at Montford Point from 1942-1949. This marker says in part, “Every Marine from private to general will know the history of those men who crossed the threshold to fight not only the enemy they were soon to know overseas, but to the enemy of racism and segregation in their own country.” Image by Tom Adkinson


Across the Pacific

montford point statute
The map underneath this statue of a Montford Point Marine illustrates the places those who trained at Montford Point served across the Pacific Theater in World War II, including Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Image by Tom Adkinson



Trip-planning resources: OnlyInOnslow.com and Lejeune.marines.mil

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on Amazon.com.



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