Fallen Marines Memorialized with 12 White Crosses
The 12 US Marines lost last week when their two CH-53E helicopters failed to return to base have been declared deceased. They were previously identified here.
In a memorial ceremony last Friday, their fellow Marines placed combat gear on white crosses in a modified battlefield cross:
Forty-eight Marines solemnly adorned white crosses with flight vests, helmets, goggles and Hawaiian leis Friday in tribute to the dozen men lost when two helicopters collided during training…
Commanding officer LtCol Eric Purcell quoted the Marines’ Hymn:
“If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.”
Then he paused, fighting to maintain his composure. “Well, St. Peter, you’ve got 12 of the finest,” he said.
As is often tradition, a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.”
Military aviation is a dangerous profession, even in training, as the community is so often tragically reminded. As their commander eloquently stated, however, the risk is neither “senseless” nor “pointless.” While some may never understand the greater purpose they placed above their own safety, all can know they served their families and their nation, and they did so to the end.
The thousands of friends and the families of these 12 Marines who attended the memorial can certainly attest to that.