Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Islamists declared war on America.
I was sent to Beirut, Lebanon to cover the bombing of the Marine barracks, in which so many young men were blown up as they slept.
That event changed my life --ending my marriage, re-focusing my perspective on the gift of life.
What I didn't know then, couldn't really guess, is that the entire world changed that day.
Please remember and honor those incredible heros who died that day, and others since who have fought for freedom.
Here's my column at WorldNetDaily.com from 2005 on that horrific day and what we need to remember in 2007.
Learn the lesson of Beirut!
Friday, October 28, 2005 by Melanie Morgan -- Suffering from a 101-degree fever, I was too sick and too tired to notice that as our plane entered Beirut airspace we had come under small-weapons fire from the ground. I was a young reporter sent by ABC's San Francisco news radio station t ...
Posted: October 28, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Suffering from a 101-degree fever, I was too sick and too tired to notice that as our plane entered Beirut airspace we had come under small-weapons fire from the ground. I was a young reporter sent by ABC's San Francisco news radio station to cover the horrific bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks by Islamic terrorists – 241 U.S. Service members, most of them Marines, had fallen victim to the hardened disciples of the so-called "Religion of Peace."
On Oct. 23, 1983, a delivery truck had driven through the barricades surrounding the Marine barracks, driving straight into the lobby and detonating explosives equal to 12,000 pounds of TNT. Most of the Marines inside were crushed to death in their sleep as the four-story building collapsed.
There are memories from those days that haunt me: unforgettable sights and smells.
I still recall the sight of 8-year-old boys feeding ammunition belts to their fathers, as they manned the foxholes that encircled the Beirut airport. These children were being taught to hate the United States and Israel. Those children are now of age where they are the prime candidates to fly airplanes into American office buildings and detonate "dirty" bombs in American cities.
I can also remember the smell of death that hung in the air, clinging to the scraps of metal, the dirt, and the shattered concrete.
I remember my interview with one of the Marines who survived: Price Troche. He was 21-years old and his family lived in the Bay Area. They had called our radio station and begged me to find out if he had survived the bombing in Beirut. I talked to his family in Hayward and let them know that their son was alive – not well, but alive.
Price had seen blood everywhere. All his friends were dead. He felt guilt-stricken that he had not been able to stop the terrorist bombers by firing at them as they approached. His gun was not loaded because he was a peacekeeper, part of the contingent from the United States that was serving at the request of the government of Lebanon to help provide stability and security to the war-torn nation.
But the terrorists didn't care that they were peacekeepers.
Their agenda is one that is so extreme it cannot receive support through the democratic process of free choice. Thus, it can only be enforced through violence, death, terror and the targeting of civilians and, yes, peacekeepers.
The tactics of Islamic extremists have not changed in 22 years.
They've blown up our embassies around the world. Just six months before the attack on the U.S. Marine barracks, they had driven an explosives-filled truck into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people.
They've killed U.S. peacekeepers in Mogadishu, Somalia.
They blew a hole in the U.S.S. Cole, killing 17 sailors.
They killed 19 more American servicemen when they detonated a truck bomb in front of the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia.
Islamic terrorists have recognized the vulnerability of commercial airliners and targeted them repeatedly in their two-decade campaign of violence. They bombed Pan Am Flight 103, killing 259 on the plane and another 11 people on the ground in the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland.
They hijacked TWA Flight 847 and held the plane, passengers and crew hostage for 17 days. When they landed in Beirut, they dumped out the body of Robert Stethem, a U.S. Naval diver who they had beaten and then shot in the head. I was on the scene when the remaining hostages of Flight 847 were finally released by the hijackers, and flown to Germany.
By Sept. 11, 2001, they were flying the planes they hijacked into civilian and government buildings here in the United States, killing thousands.
They brought down the World Trade Towers that they had attacked once before in a 1993 bombing that killed 6 people and injured more than 1,000 others.
So here we are – 22 years after the Beirut bombings – and I sit here realizing that our nation has yet to find the resolve and the will to fight back in a war that was long ago declared against us.
We seem stuck in the position Price Troche faced 22 years ago in Beirut. We see the terrorists, we know what their intent is, but we're not free to take action because of the limitations put upon us by others in the world.
That's got to stop.
It's time we learned the lesson of Beirut, 1983. We can never succumb to the terrorists. We can never appease them. And we can't worry about what other nations or politicians will say.
It's time to fight them, kill them, and then let God sort out their ultimate destiny.
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Melanie Morgan is chairman of the conservative, pro-troop non-profit organization Move America Forward and is co-host of the "Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Show" on KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco. Morgan is co-author of "American Mourning," which tells the stories of American heroism in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her personal website is www.MelanieMorgan.com.