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Virginia War Memorial seeks vets of Beirut bombing, U.S invasion of Grenada

The Virginia War Memorial wants to interview veterans who were at the Beirut bombing and the U.S invasion of Grenada for an upcoming project.

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia War Memorial is looking for veterans and family members to tell their stories about the long-ago deadly terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon.

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the bombing.

Long before 9/11, way before the USS Cole attack, back in October 1983, there was the terrorist bombing U.S. Embassy and Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut. In total, 241 Americans died, including 13 Virginians.

"When people talk about when did the global war on terror begin, a lot of people do look at the bombing in Beirut," said Virginia War Memorial Executive Director Clay Mountcastle.

Mountcastle and his staff are seeking out Virginians who were there to tell their stories.

"We just sit down with people and we ask them, 'What was your memories?'" he said. "What do you remember of that event or that day or the impact? How did it make you feel?"

The oral histories will be part of a new project, film and exhibit to open next year called "One Week in October," which will look at both the Beirut tragedy and Operation Just Cause, the U.S. invasion of Grenada, also in 1983, in which one Virginian died.

"Two very important events in our history, but not events that a lot of people remember and not a lot of people know about, but it had a big impact on Virginia because there is Virginians listed in the wall that deserve to have their story told just as much as those from World War II, Korea and Vietnam and our current events," said Mountcastle.

He added: "I think the best way we can honor veterans is to preserve their history and make sure future generations know what they did."

Production of the new film will take place in the spring and summer of 2023 with a projected premiere date of October 2023, the 40th anniversary of both of these historic events.

Those interested in participating to be interviewed for “One Week in October” are encouraged to contact Mountcastle by email at clay.mountcastle@dvs.virginia.gov or by calling the Memorial at 804.786.2060.

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