News: Fallen 1/9 Marines legacy set in stone
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - More than 300 local residents attended a memorial dedication at Veterans Memorial Park May 20, 2013, honoring seven Marines from 1st Battalion, 9th Marines who died while training nearby.
The dedication followed a popular Armed Forces Day parade through town.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval spoke about the loss of the Marines, their sacrifices for the nation, and the close-knit military community gathered here in their honor.
“Americans and Nevadans have gathered every year since 1950 to pay our respects to the men and women of our Armed Forces and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom and liberty.
“Hawthorne has always been the place where the Nevada family goes to celebrate and honor our military. Today’s parade is a symbol of how Nevada cherishes its military heroes. Today we’re gathered here as Nevadans to mourn the loss of seven Marines who lost their lives near here to tragedy two months ago,” Sandoval said.
Seven Marines were killed and eight other servicemembers were injured in an explosion during a live-fire training exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot, Nev., March 18, 2013.
Rick Isom, the quartermaster for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2313, said that his organization, along with American Legion Post 19 and Elks Lodge 1704, coordinated an effort to raise funds to place a plaque on a large rock at the center of the town’s park. The fundraising began at the memorial service following the deaths of the Marines.
“At the memorial service we asked all those in attendance to assist us in raising money by giving a donation for Buddy Poppies (lapel pins) which would be worn to show their support. In addition, we received money from VFW and American Legions throughout the state, the National Military Service Alliance, numerous residents of Hawthorne and the surrounding communities, and a local restaurant, The Refinery, held a spaghetti feed to raise money for the project,” Isom said.
The fundraising and organization continued at great speed to finish the memorial before the town’s annual Armed Forces Day parade exactly two months after the explosion.
Hawthorne has a strong community of retired servicemembers, veterans, Department of Defense civilian employees and their family members dating back to the 1920s when a Naval Ammunition Plant began operating here.
“Throughout the years, servicemen and women who originally moved to Hawthorne for employment ended up falling in love with the community and retiring here. With such strong military roots, it has been ingrained in the community for decades. Residents have always had a strong sense of pride in the United States military and what they do for our rights, freedom and community as a whole,” Isom said.
The tradition of military appreciation continues with the most recent addition to the Veterans memorial Park—the plaque dedicated to the 1/9 Marines who lost their lives.
“This memorial signifies Mineral County’s commitment to the Armed Forces and is our way of showing the fighting men and women that they will never be forgotten in our community. Every Memorial Day, these seven (Marines) will be part of the VFW ritual listing the names and remembering all of Mineral County’s fallen heroes.”