On Oct. 23, 1983, a terrorist bombing in Beirut, Lebanon took the lives of 241 American servicemen. They called communities all across the United States home, and one of those communities that suffered a tragic loss was Princeton.
Work is now underway to commemorate Lance Cpl. Timothy Dunnigan of the U.S. and four other West Virginians — five Marines and one sailor — who lost their lives, as well as the other 236 servicemen who perished when a terrorist ran a truck filled with explosives into a Marine barracks. The task has been taken up by the League, Mountaineer Detachment 957 in Princeton.
“We just got involved in it recently,” Rod Mayberry of the Mountaineer Detachment said. “I was still on active duty when it happened. (Mayor Tim Ealy) brought it to our attention about three weeks, maybe a month, ago … we thought we’d take this under our wing.”
Preparations have been made to pour the new monument’s concrete foundations on a triangle of property near the Athens Crossroads in Princeton. The site is to be named Dunnigan Square, Mayberry said.
“And we thought, well, what would it cost to do this in a way the people like Tim would want us to do it? We doubt any of those guys would want something just in their name,” Mayberry stated. “We thought it would be appropriate to represent the five people who were from West Virginia on the main stone. We’re going to have three stones.”
The names of the other servicemen lost in the Beirut bombing will be included on the memorial along with motto, “They Came In Peace.” The motto is featured on other memorials to the servicemen, he said. A flagpole will be part of the memorial as well.
The Memorial Funeral Directory in Princeton is helping the League obtained the material needed for the monument, Mayberry stated. Plans call for dedicating the new memorial on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.
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“They found some stones for us that were ready and available so we could get them etched in time,” he said.
Approximately $9,000 is needed for the project. Mayberry said the sum might sound like a like, but if 90 people across the area contributed $100 a piece, the total could be reached. Veterans groups and businesses could help, too, along with individual donors.
“The problem is getting those people all together in the next six weeks,” he siad. “We’ve started a GoFundMe account on there, too.”
People who would like to contribute to the Beirut Marine Barracks Memorial can use gofundme.com/Beirut-Memorial on the internet.
“We haven’t had any hits on that yet,” Mayberry said Friday. “We just started it a couple of days ago. It’s going to get done whether we raise the money or not.”
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com
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