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Coaldale Ceremony to honor Marines killed in 1983

Published October 19. 2013 09:00AM

Coaldale veterans' organizations will hold a ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23 to honor those Marines who were killed in action in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. The ceremony will be held, rain or shine, in the Veterans Memorial Garden, next to borough hall, 221 Third St.

Thirty years ago, 241 Marines were killed when their barracks was bombed.

The 24th Marine Amphibious Unit had been stationed there beginning in 1982 to try to buffer the fighting between warring Christian and Muslim factions. At 10:30 a.m., Oct. 23, 1983, a truck loaded with explosives rammed the First battalion, 8th Marines Headquarters building, killing the occupants, which included Marines, sailors and soldiers.

They included Keith J. Laise of Stroudsburg.

"This was and continues to be the largest number of Marines killed on a single day since Iwo Jima during World War II," said ceremony organizer William Gaddes, who will serve as master of ceremonies. Marine Captain Dale Wesner (retired); will raise the U.S. Marine Corps flag on the center pole of three newly installed flagpoles, upon which the five flags of the military departments will be flown for the first time at the memorial.

The Panther Valley Junior ROTC will provide a rifle honor guard and a bugler for TAPS for the ceremony. The cadets will review the history of the United States Marine Corps; and will lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Rev. Daniel Matthewson, of St. Mary's Orthodox Church, will say a blessing for the souls of those who died, their Gold Star Mothers, and their families. He will also pray for active military and veterans, as represented by the five new military flags.

Veterans organizations expected to attend the ceremony include the Coaldale United Veterans Organization; Pennsylvania AMVETS Post One of McAdoo; the Carbon County Navy Club, Ship 260; the Marine Corps League of Schuylkill County; the Lansford American Legion, and the McAdoo VFW Post 6708.

For information or to participate, contact William Gaddes at 570-645-2762, or at

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