Pence Commemorates 36th Anniversary of U.S. Marine Barracks Bombing

October 25, 2019
Press Release

Click HERE or the photo above to watch Rep. Pence lead a moment of silence on the House floor.


Pence Commemorates 36th Anniversary of U.S. Marine Barracks Bombing

Washington, D.C.  – On Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019, U.S. Representative Greg Pence, a United States Marine Corps and Beirut Veteran, led the U.S. House of Representatives in commemorating the 36th anniversary of the Marine Barracks Bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, which claimed the lives of 241 American servicemembers.

The commemoration included a moment of silence on the House floor and a Special Order led by Representative Pence.

Congressman Pence’s Special Order remarks, as prepared, are below:

"Madam Speaker, we are here today to honor the 241 American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice on this very day, 36 years ago, in Beirut, Lebanon.

For my family, and so many families, today is deeply emotional.

When I enlisted in 1979 as a young man, I wanted to serve and be a part of something bigger.

That is what led me to the United States Marine Corp. Like every Marine, I took an oath to God, to country, and to the Corp.

Semper Fidelis is not just a slogan or creed; it is a way of life that only those who have earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor can fully understand.

Semper Fidelis is part of the very fabric of every Marine, past and present.

I served as a First Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines. In 1983, my battalion was ordered to Beirut, Lebanon.

I vividly remember the evenings I sat on the roof of the Marine barracks with the American flag flying over my head.

The barrage of small arms gunfire and mortar rounds made it very clear that we were in harm’s way.

On this very day, 36 years ago, a terrorist affiliated with Hezbollah and financed by Iran drove a truck bomb into the barracks I called home. 241 American servicemen were killed, 220 of which were my fellow Marines.

241 sons, brothers, fathers, and friends never returned home. 241 came in peace. And 241 lives were stolen from us by an act of pure evil.

It was the deadliest day for the Marine Corps since the battle of Iwo Jima.

It is by the grace of God that I was able to come home to my wife, Denise, who was expecting our first child.

My battalion had shipped out 10 days before the bombing.

But Madam Speaker, today is not about me.

You may not recognize the 241 names listed behind me, but they are the names of the 241 who answered the call of duty 36 years ago.

Today is about these 241 Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines who laid down their lives to protect our freedoms. And, today is about every veteran who has so nobly worn the uniform of our Armed Forces.

On this somber day, I look out at the flag flying above the U.S. Capitol and feel the same reverence I felt standing below the stars and stripes on the roof of the Beirut barracks in 1983.

Though I will never know exactly why I was spared when so many were not, I understand that our first duty is to remember and be faithful.

Madam Speaker, three of my fellow Marines, Representatives Gallagher, Carbajal, and Moulton joined me to offer legislation to remember the faith and loyalty of the 241.

Fellow Marine, Representative Ruben Gallego, joined me to offer legislation to provide a sliver of justice for the Gold Star Families who lost their loved ones. Our bill, the OORAH Act, passed both the House and Senate. And for that, I am grateful.

But Madam Speaker, there is still work to be done.

Terrorists, and those who support them financially, must be held accountable for their actions.”

In closing, Congressman Pence said:

“Today, on the 36th anniversary of this horrific attack, and every day, we must strive to ensure that all are remembered and honored.

We remember their loyalty, their selflessness, and their courage. We are humbled by their tremendous sacrifice.

We must hold them closely in our hearts and hometowns. We must live in gratitude for the precious gift they have given to us.

But most of all, we must uphold our promise to honor our fallen. We must remain always faithful.

Madam Speaker, we will always remain faithful. God Bless America, and Semper Fi.”

Background: In October 1983, an Iranian national drove a truck bomb into the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The devastating bombing killed 241 American service members, including 220 Marines. The attack was perpetrated by Hezbollah, a terror group founded, trained, and financially supported by the Iranian regime. Since the attack, the victims’ families have won several court judgments authorizing the seizure of Iranian funds as restitution for the attack. Currently, these families seek to enforce these judgments against the Iranian regime.

The Our Obligation to Recognize American Heroes (OORAH) Act of 2019, H.R. 2790, amends the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to allow families of the 1983 Marine Barracks terrorist attack victims to execute on $1.68 billion in Iranian funds.

The OORAH Act and companion legislation, S. 1529, the Supporting Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, passed their respective chambers with broad bipartisan support. The OORAH Act, which earned forty-four bipartisan cosponsors, was filed as an amendment to H.R. 3494, the Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act, and passed without opposition. S. 1529 also passed without opposition in the Senate NDAA.

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Congressman Greg Pence represents Indiana’s 6th District. From Columbus, Indiana, Pence advocates for conservative Hoosier values as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee