Providence, RI – Today, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, Mayor Taveras, officials from the Convention Center Authority, and Colonel Gerry Leonard from the Marine Corps Detachment at Naval Station Newport joined with the families of Rhode Islanders killed in the 1983 bombing of U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut to honor the lost service members and rededicate a convention center plaque in their memory. Survivor and Purple Heart recipient Corporal Edward Streker and Survivor Sergeant Donald Giblin also participated in the ceremony.
"Our nation remains eternally grateful for the Marines, sailors and soldiers and airmen who were killed while serving with the multi-national peacekeeping force in Lebanon almost thirty years ago. This plaque gives people an opportunity to reflect and serves as a constant reminder of the strength and courage of those brave Rhode Islanders who gave their lives protecting our country," said Reed.
“Today we honored the Marines who lost their lives while courageously working to restore peace in Lebanon after years of Civil War,” said Senator Whitehouse. “These men are true American heroes, and I was honored to stand with their families to rededicate this plaque in their memory.”
“On this somber occasion, we remember the 241 victims of a deliberate and horrific attack on members of our Armed Forces who were stationed in Beirut in an effort to maintain peace nearly thirty years ago,” said Cicilline. “As we honor those we lost, we also keep in mind the responsibility we have to provide for the brave men and women in uniform who protect our safety and freedom every day.”
“The servicemen from Rhode Island and all 241 Americans who perished in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon will forever be enshrined in our hearts. As we remember and pay homage to the victims of the Beirut tragedy, we also express our deepest gratitude to the United States Armed Forces serving our country overseas, and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in our nation’s defense,” said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.
A plaque honoring the Marines was recently re-hung at the Dunkin Donuts Center after being temporarily removed during renovations. Today’s ceremony celebrated the reinstallation of the plaque, which was rededicated to the Marines to honor their lives and thank them for their service.
The nine Rhode Island Marines were killed while stationed in Beirut as part of a multinational peacekeeping force that arrived in Lebanon in 1982. The bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut on October 23rd, 1983, killed 241 Marines and sailors and represented the largest loss of life in a single day for the Marine Corps since the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
The plaque also commemorates the life of Jeffrey Richard Scharver, a First Lieutenant Rhode Island Marine and Silver Star recipient who perished two days after the Beirut bombing during the United States-led invasion of Grenada.