PORTSMOUTH — Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Beirut Barracks Bombings, in which 241 Marines were killed in a terrorist attack on their barracks on Oct. 23, 1983.
The annual memorial ceremony to honor the memory of those Marines killed was held Wednesday morning at the Portsmouth Historical Society.
Among the nine Rhode Island Marines who died in the attack were two brothers-in-law: Cpl. Stephen E. Spencer, 23, of Portsmouth; and Lance Cpl. James F. Silvia, 20, of Middletown. Also killed were PFC Thomas Julian, 21, a 1979 graduate of Portsmouth High School; and Cpl. Edward Soares Jr., 21, of Tiverton.
The ceremony coincided with the observance at the Beirut Memorial site in the Camp Lejeune Memorial Gardens, which many of the families of the fallen Marines from Southeast New England attended.
“Our state and our nation remain eternally grateful for the nine Rhode Island Marines and all 241 Americans who lost their lives serving with the multi-national peacekeeping force in Lebanon 30 years ago,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a graduate of West Point and a former Army Ranger. “It is our duty to keep their memories alive and honor their heroism and this ceremony is a fitting tribute to their sacrifice and service.”