Memorial Service

by claudia

We wanted to let everyone know how the memorial service went on Tuesday. There were 9 Marines and one Navy Corpman lost during this deployment and about 1000 Marines gathered with the families of the 10 men to honor them. The five companies within the battalion stood at attention as the boots, rifle, helmet and dog tags of the fallen men were presented along side a poster size picture of each of the 10. Prayers were said and eulogies read but the most poignant part of the ceremony was the roll call. The names of a few in the battallion were called out and they answered, then they started calling the names of the 10 departed men. Cpl. Lembke . . . . . Cpl. Matthew Lembke . . . . . Cpl. Matthew R. Lembke . . . . . . and then silence since he was not there to answer. It was a very moving and powerful way to end the service. Then the families were invited to pay tribute to their loved one's boots, rifle, helmet and dog tags memorial followed by the Marines from their platoon.

Next we were escorted to the Marine memorial near the front gate of the base for a brick laying ceremony. The memorial is a replica of the Marine memorial in Washington D.C. which depicts the flag raising at Iwo Jima. There has been a brick inscribed with each man's name, rank and date and the bricks have been layed on the courtyard surrounding the memorial. We were also presented with an identical brick to take home.

It has been a very emotional trip and we stayed on the base for the first half of the week but now we have moved to Turtle Bay which is where we stayed last time we came to visit Matt. We fly back on Sunday but we plan to get together again with some of the guys at least one more time before we leave.

(see picures in photoblog)