It was our first major taste of the terrorism that would not be ignored. It was a sad truth from which we would reel back. We came in peace. Our Nation was changed on that day. The world was changed on that day. We would not know the meaning of that day for years to come. An unknown (at the time) group named Hezbollah was responsible for the attack. Iran had quickly exported their brand of terrorism to Lebanon and it would take over the terrorist movement there as well as the South of the Nation in relatively short time.
I'm not going to take any questions this morning because we're going right into meetings on the events that have taken place on this tragic weekend. But I would like to make this statement: I know there are no words that can express our sorrow and grief over the loss of those splendid young men and the injury to so many others. I know there are no words, also, that can ease the burden of grief for the families of those young men. Likewise, there are no words to properly express our outrage and, I think, the outrage of all Americans at the despicable act, following as it does on the one perpetrated several months ago, in the spring, that took the lives of scores of people at our Embassy in that same city, in Beirut. But I think we should all recognize that these deeds make so evident the bestial nature of those who would assume power if they could have their way and drive us out of that area that we must be more determined than ever that they cannot take over that vital and strategic area of the Earth or, for that matter, any other part of the Earth. Thank you. Note: The President spoke at 8:38 a.m. at the South Portico of the White House. He was returning from a weekend stay in Augusta, Ga., after conferring for several hours with his advisers on the bombing incidents.
http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1983/102383a.htm Address to the Nation on Events in Lebanon and Grenada October 27, 1983
My fellow Americans: Some 2 months ago we were shocked by the brutal massacre of 269 men, women, and children, more than 60 of them Americans, in the shooting down of a Korean airliner. Now, in these past several days, violence has erupted again, in Lebanon and Grenada. In Lebanon, we have some 1,600 marines, part of a multinational force that's trying to help the people of Lebanon restore order and stability to that troubled land. Our marines are assigned to the south of the city of Beirut, near the only airport operating in Lebanon. Just a mile or so to the north is the Italian contingent and not far from them, the French and a company of British soldiers. This past Sunday, at 22 minutes after 6 Beirut time, with dawn just breaking, a truck, looking like a lot of other vehicles in the city, approached the airport on a busy, main road. There was nothing in its appearance to suggest it was any different than the trucks or cars that were normally seen on and around the airport. But this one was different. At the wheel was a young man on a suicide mission. The truck carried some 2,000 pounds of explosives, but there was no way our marine guards could know this. Their first warning that something was wrong came when the truck crashed through a series of barriers, including a chain-link fence and barbed wire entanglements. The guards opened fire, but it was too late. The truck smashed through the doors of the headquarters building in which our marines were sleeping and instantly exploded. The four-story concrete building collapsed in a pile of rubble. More than 200 of the sleeping men were killed in that one hideous, insane attack. Many others suffered injury and are hospitalized here or in Europe. This was not the end of the horror. At almost the same instant, another vehicle on a suicide and murder mission crashed into the headquarters of the French peacekeeping force, an eight-story building, destroying it and killing more than 50 French soldiers.