JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Friday marked the 32nd anniversary of the Beirut Bombings, where nearly 300 Marines and service personnel were killed by a truck bomb in Lebanon.
The terrorist attack on a marine barracks killed nearly 300 troops that were stationed at Camp Lejeune.
Helen Pearson was just nine at the time. Her father was one of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving the country he loved.
He was buried days later on her tenth birthday.
And 11 years later, her first-born child would be born on the same day her father was killed.
“How many people can say their son is born on the day their father was killed, and I’m born on the day they buried him,” said Pearson.
For others in Jacksonville, Friday’s observance marks a time when both the community and the base came together as one.
“Nowhere is it more felt than here in Jacksonville,” said Nat Fahy, with the Camp Lejeune Public Affairs Office. “The pain of that loss but also the bonding of this community together in a way that can never be broken.”
Pearson’s family is from Savannah, Georgia. Her mother and two sons often come back to Camp Lejeune to remember the good times they spent together with their lost loved one.
But Pearson says with the good memories, also come the bad.
“The pain is always there, and that is the main effect. What could’ve, what would’ve, what should’ve been,” said Pearson about the pain she still feels.
She says she wants her children to know the importance of what happened that day and to celebrate the legacy her father still leaves behind.
The duty to remember the fallen service members is taken very seriously by the community in Jacksonville and they Mayor has pledged to never forget that day.