I am still in Jacksonville, North Carolina enjoying some time relaxing and doing a bit of sight seeing. The United States Marine Corps has a heavy presence here and many of the residents are active duty, retired, or otherwise here because of the military. The city is surrounded by military bases including Camp Lejeune, Camp Geiger, Camp Johnson, and the New River Air Station. I did not have time to visit the bases on this trip, however I did visit a memorial area in town that stands to remember both civilians and military personnel who gave their lives. All of the memorials pictured here are in the same area and you can easily walk to them all from the parking lot. It is also free to come pay your respects so if you are in Eastern North Carolina for the beaches or here visiting because maybe you have a family member serving, it is a worthwhile stop.
I took more pictures than I got into today because I feel that it is not appropriate to take a selfie when you are in a place meant for reflection and paying respect to the dead. Please keep this in mind when you are on your travels as well!
The first stop was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I did take a picture at the entrance as it was an extravagant entrance a walkway to the actual memorial.
The close up…
The full display
There is a long walking path before you come to a beautiful fountain that, from a distance, seems to be surrounded by glass.
As you get closer you can see that it is not just any glass…
The alphabetical listing of names of the soldiers who died in Vietnam.
It takes a moment to realize that even one pane of glass holds at least 200 names. That’s when I had to step back and take in the enormity of it all.
This is less than a third of the wall. Each separate glass pane containing well over 200 names of the fallen.
Here is a website that has a lot of statistical information on those who died including where they were from, their religious preferences, their rank and branch of service. In all, 58,220 service members lost their lives.
To put this into a bit a perspective, Camp Lejeune is the largest amphibious Marine Corps base on the east coast and it is home to 47,000 Marines and Sailors.
After spending a bit of time reading the names we headed back the way we came and found a piece of history along the way.
This plaque is in front of a beam from the twin towers and the beam sits in this memorial park.
This was all very overwhelming and I needed a break to take in the autumn foliage. It really is in a beautiful little area right off of the highway.
The last memorial we saw today was actually the first one built in this area. It was made in remembrance of the Marines who lost their lives while on a peace mission in Beirut, Lebanon. This memorial holds the names of those who died when their barracks was bombed.
The shadow of the Marine.
People often leave things at his feet. You can often find a beer here around the Marine Corps Birthday (November 10, 1775)
A child left a plant and a picture thanking the Marines for their sacrifice.
A picture of the full memorial.
A plaque with a lovely poem sits in front of the memorial. No worries if it is too small to read, I posted the words below the picture.
The Other Wall
By R.A. Gannon
It does not stand in Washington
By others of its kind
In prominence and dignity
With mission clear defined.
It does not list the men who died
That tyranny should cease
But speaks in silent eloquence
Of those who came in peace.
This Other Wall is solemn white
And cut in simple lines
And it nestles in the splendor
Of the Carolina pines.
And on this wall there are the names
Of men who once had gone
In friendship’s name to offer aid
To Beirut, Lebanon.
They did not go as conquerors
To bring a nation down
Or for honor or for glory
Or for praises or renown
When they landed on that foreign shore
Their only thought in mind
Was the safety of its people
And the good of all mankind.
Though they offered only friendship
And freedom’s holy breath
They were met with scorn and mockery
And violence and death.
So the story of their glory
Is not of battles fought
But of their love for freedom
Which was so dearly bought.
And their Wall shall stand forever
So long as freedom shines
On the splendor and the glory
Of the Carolina pines.
~Robert A. Gannon
Here is a link about the bombings if you would like to learn more:
I hope to visit the military bases and the museum dedicated to the Marines of Montford Point the next time I find myself in Jacksonville. Currently, Camp Johnson is for schooling. It is where Marines go after graduating boot camp to learn their MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). However not so long ago, the Marine Corps was segregated not only by enlisted and officer ranks, but by color lines as well and Camp Johnson was known as Montford Point. It was a base for African American Marines only. Here is a little preview:
…but more on that another time.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and remember to thank those who serve their country!