A few days ago, Attorney James Foster (co-counsel with Fob James) and team took a trip to Camp Lejeune to get a firsthand look at the places where countless Marines and their families were exposed to toxic water over a decades-long period. As a North Carolina native, James had visited the area before, but the scope and gravity of the pain inflicted upon so many veterans and their families had never been so tangible.
“This is the spot.”
We visited the former site of ABC One Hour Cleaners, the dry-cleaning business whose improper disposal of chemicals allegedly contaminated the soil and groundwater of the entire base. While we were there, an EPA construction operation was underway installing a new water treatment system behind a tall privacy fence. It was clear that they didn’t want observers, as a supervisor immediately approached and essentially escorted us away. Before we left, we asked him to confirm the location’s significance to which he replied: “I’m not gonna lie to you, this is the spot.”
We also visited the Lejeune Memorial Gardens that featured multiple memorials, plaques, and monuments including an impressive statue of the “Eagle, Globe and Anchor” that was inspired by the official USMC emblem.
The Beirut Memorial
The Beirut Memorial, depicted below, is the largest privately funded military memorial in the Country. The memorial honors the 273 Marines who lost their lives in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1983.
The Onslow Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated to the Veterans of our Armed Forces who served during the Vietnam era. The Memorial is surrounded by a glass wall, with the names of all the fallen soldiers etched upon it.
The Montford Point Marine Memorial
The Montford Point Marine Memorial is dedicated to the first Black Marines who joined the USMC between 1942 and 1949 during segregation. There are over 20,000 stars reflecting each distinguished Marine.
The 9/11 Memorial
Finally, the 9/11 Memorial prominently displays a steel beam from New York’s Twin Towers. This honors the troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
These memorials were certainly awe-inspiring and hallowed. They proudly honor our Veterans and their sacrifices. We gained an even stronger appreciation for our Armed Forces and felt a renewed sense of inspiration and determination to fight harder than ever for our clients. As we left, we couldn’t help but wonder what type of memorial, if any, will ever be established to recognize the Marines and their family members who were impacted by the toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune. One thing is certain, Attorneys James Foster and Fob James will continue to fight for them all, now harder than ever.