Purple Heart memorial dedicated at Camp Lejeune
By THOMAS BRENNAN | The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C. | Published: October 12, 2013
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A new monument behind Wounded Warrior Battalion on Camp Lejeune stands testament to the sacrifices of past, present and future Purple Heart recipients.
The Friday morning unveiling of the Purple Heart monument — which cost almost $7,000 and was provided by the Beirut Memorial Chapter 642 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart — brought together Camp Lejeune’s combat wounded, local organizations and civilians.
The Purple Heart, which is the oldest U.S. military medal, is an award for those wounded or killed in action against an enemy of the United States.
“To me, this is a good eye opener for the younger Marines who aren’t used to seeing Purple Heart recipients,” said Purple Heart recipient Sgt. Shawn Seguin, 29, of Kingsville, Texas. “We have less and less combat wounded coming into Wounded Warrior Battalion. This shows them how much the wounded warriors have sacrificed. It also shows me the sacrifices of past generations and how much they have given up for our freedoms.”
The Beirut Memorial chapter, according to Seguin, goes above and beyond to provide for the wounded Marines and sailors of Camp Lejeune and surrounding bases. Events like their Christmas tree display at the Marine Corps exchange and how the order funds combat wounded service members travel home during the holidays are truly impressive, he said.
Until Friday’s ceremony, Seguin said he didn’t realize how much brotherhood existed between those who have earned Purple Hearts. The unselfish display, according to Seguin, has inspired him to get more involved with the order.
“Organizations like MOPH are a guiding light and help us get where we need to go in our recovery,” Seguin said. “That feeling of fighting the system goes away when you have the support of an organization like this to guide you through and take care of you.”
The memorial is located at Wounded Warrior Battalion East’s barracks because that is where wounded Marines and sailors come to heal and that they need to know their sacrifice is not forgotten, according to Grant Beck, the MOPH chapter’s commander.
“About two and a half years ago we decided to raise funds to present a Purple Heart memorial here at the Wounded Warrior barracks,” Beck said. “It’s our way of honoring those Marines and sailors. We wanted them to have the memorial next to the barracks ...so it serves as a reminder of what the medal means that they have earned.”
Beck hopes the wounded warriors know they need to be a team and foster an environment where they are not alone, something the order doesn’t plan on letting them forget, he said. With post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and suicide being so prevalent, Beck said that reminding our Marines and sailors that people do care is of the utmost importance.
“They’re not alone,” Beck said. “They don’t need to suffer by themselves. ...When they hear that from us – from those of us who still suffer from PTSD and our wounds ...maybe it helps them understand things a little more.
“You don’t always see the wounds but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”