HINTON, WV (WVNS) — This year, veterans and others who have served in the line of duty will be traveling from out of state to honor the 273 Marines that were killed or injured in the Beirut bombing of 1983.
This event, which is on Saturday, September 23, 2023 from 8:00 A.M. until 10:45 P.M. at Blue Stone State Park in Hinton, veterans and others who have served will be participating in the 2nd Annual USMC Sgt. Mecot Camara Memorial Ruck.
The names of the fallen are on the Beirut Memorial Wall at Camp Lejeune, NC. Each person who is hiking will be wearing a memorial ruck bib and they will be carrying the name of one of the 273 with them that died that day.
Out of those 273 was USMC Sergeant Mecot Camara who gave his life for his country. A proud West Virginian, who grew up in Hinton, Mecot was a First Battalion, Eighth Marines who was in the Dragons Platoon. He was also a part of an international peace-keeping force in Beirut, Lebanon.
His sister, Elisa Camara, started this Memorial Ruck with her organization, the American Brother Foundation to honor her older brother, who tragically died in the Beirut bombing of 1983 as well.
“I think it’s really important because it tells them, we remember. We remember, we honor you. We thank you for your service. We thank you for those that came home. We thank the families for the ones of those that did not come home, and being 40 years since this historical moment really resonates with our Beirut Marine Corps family, and we wanted to do something very special to honor these Marines and also to teach for future generations how important that event was,” said Elisa Camara.
The Beirut bombing of 1983 was the largest loss of life since the offensive in Vietnam. It was also the largest non nuclear explosion prior to 9/11. This bombing was also tagged as the first act of terrorism.
Elisa also added, “It’s keeping the memory alive of the ones who did not come home, and the ones that serve in our local communities. For my brother growing up in Hinton, Summers County, West Virginia, it’s keeping his memory alive here and teaching future generations in our hometown how important it is to serve our country and to respect the families and honor the families are the ones that didn’t come home, and then it benefits the community because we have an opportunity to come together, and we have an opportunity to thank the Beirut veterans that are coming from all across the country here in our little community. We have an opportunity to shake their hand, to hug them and tell them thank you. We remember.”
Elisa Camara has also written a book about her brother and the others who perished from the bombing, which will also be made into a documentary. You can visit americanbrotherfoundation.org for more information and to register for this event.