New Purple Heart Memorial at Lejeune Memorial Gardens

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The Beirut Memorial Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart unveiled their Purple Heart Memorial on Veterans Day at the Lejeune Memorial Gardens.

Several speakers at the memorial, including Purple Heart recipient Ike Jenkins, spoke about some of the emotions attached to the memorial.

“I never thought serving my country would cause me to be injured. No one goes into combat thinking about receiving a Purple Heart or to get injured and that’s what happened to me. And for the Veterans out there I just want to say God bless you and God bless America.”

Jenkins was a Marine who fought in the Vietnam War. “I myself was wounded in Vietnam. Three gunshot wounds both legs, right hand,” he said during his speech.

The memorial is several yards from the plot where the Museum of the Marine will be built at the gardens.

The New Bern Veterans Council held a special luncheon for military veterans and spotlighted those retired service members who are still portraying exemplary service in the community.

Gary Gillette, who is chairman of the council and an Air Force Veteran, spoke to the bonds built while serving.

“When you’re in the military,” Gillette said, “You do bond with your fellow soldiers, and that friendship — that fellowship — continues with you for the rest of your life. If you’re in the trenches with somebody it’s something that you appreciate. Them, everything that they do for you.”

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