Susanna Capelouto, CNN Wire
(CNN) — Thirty years ago, a Hezbollah suicide bomber drove a truck into the U.S. military barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. Marines since World War II.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel commemorated the event Wednesday.
“We join with the families and their loved ones in paying tribute to the fallen and in sharing our deep appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice made in service to our nation,” Obama said in a statement.
A second suicide attack that day killed 58 French paratroopers. The multinational force had been deployed to try to stabilize the region during Lebanon’s civil war.
There will be ceremonies commemorating the fallen service members Wednesday at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and at the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon.
“We also honor the courage and bravery of those warriors who survived the attack and spent days digging their brothers out of the rubble,” the President said.
He used the occasion to call for a renewed commitment to a stable Lebanon and to the U.S. partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Hagel said in a statement that the the deadly and tragic day, 30 years ago, is one that will never be forgotten.