For more than 150 years now, the last Monday of every May has been marked as Memorial Day. Service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice of past and present conflicts live on indefinitely through remembrance, on this day, regardless of their branch, where they fought or how long they served.
Aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marines with Battery K, 3rd battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, participated in a traditional 21-gun salute in observance of Memorial Day May 28.
A moment of silence was held in between each time the battery’s howitzers blazed, giving ample time to thank a fallen hero. Artillery units aboard the base also use the 21-gun salute to observe President’s Day and Independence Day.
“It’s to remember all of our brother and sisters who have fallen,” said 2nd Lt. Stephen Mulcahy, the Battery K, second platoon commander. “The 21-gun salute extends that moment of silence so everyone really has time to think about all the people who gave their lives for us and everyone that sacrificed something for our country in all branches.”
Capt. Roe Lemons, battery commander, said the battery held a blank fire rehearsal days before just to get the ‘kinks’ out of the ceremony.
“We’re honoring those who paid the ultimate price in all of the wars we have fought in since 1775,” said Lemons. “We wanted to make sure we do it right because the most important thing is to make sure it went right on game day.”
Sgt. Alvin Will, a section chief with the battery, said he has participated in a number of ceremonies before, including one aboard Marine Corps Headquarters Quantico, Va.
“I’m excited to be able to do it again,” said Will. “I wish it was a bigger audience and that we could have done an ‘expend all remaining’ exercise, which would have been like fireworks, but everything went well and the people here seemed to enjoy the ceremony. I enjoyed it too.”
Lance Cpl. Ian Lahti, radio operator with the battalion, said he enjoys being a part of ceremonies in any way he can.
“It was pretty cool to be a part of any ceremony in the Marine Corps,” said Lahti. “It’s a lot of tradition and history involved, and it makes me feel like I’m a part of something much bigger. Being here for Memorial Day feels good and I’m glad I got the opportunity to honor all the people who came before us.”