On August 17, 2001, the remains of 13 Marines who died during the Raid on Makin Island in 1942 were laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Members of the 4 Marine Raider Battalions from World War II as well as families, friends and Marines from all eras since were present to render final honors to their fallen comrades.
I consider it an honor to have been invited to attend. Being in the presence of men who made Marine Corps history was almost indescribable. I felt like a "boot" standing next to them, but they still accepted me as one of their own and allowed me to walk over sacred and hollowed ground and stand with them in honor of fallen Marine Raiders. As Chesty Puller once remarked: "Old breed, new breed. There's not a damn bit of difference as long as it's the Marine breed!"
Here are some pictures of the event (Click on picture for larger image):
|Outside of the Fort Myers Chapel. This is General James L. Jones, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.|
|Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Alford L. McMichael.|
|The Ceremonial Honor Guard is formed and ready.|
|A closer look at an Honor Guard Platoon.|
|Preparing to follow the casket.|
|The casket is transported by Caisson to Graveside Final Honors.|
|Following the casket in Procession.|
|Escorting the casket.|
|Standing Ceremonial Watch over the caskets.|
Out of respect for the families and Marines, I took no pictures during the 21 Rifle Salute, Playing of Taps or Presentation of the Flags. You may be assured that it was all done properly and with taste.
The following names are of those who gave their lives at Makin Island:Sgt. Clyde A. Thomason (Congressional Medal of Honor)
Before leaving, we take a moment to remember all those of the Naval Services who gave their lives for their country.