JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - As the news spreads of the lives lost locally this week in the KC-130 plane crash over Mississippi, many in Jacksonville are looking for ways to honor those who died while serving their country.
Some have chosen to paint rocks with symbols of appreciation for the MARSOC Marines and Navy Corpsman that died as well as the New York-based Marines also on board Monday's ill-fated flight. Other neighborhoods have lined streets with American flags.
Jacksonville assistant city manager Glenn Hargett said these little gestures help the community through the mourning and healing process.
"It becomes a personification of what it is that they do," he said. "It lets people have a point to focus their grief in and their shared loss that this community has."
The neighborhood of Holly Ridge is filled with Marine families, and has its streets lined on Thursday with American flags in honor of the fallen. At the entrance to Camp Lejeune, small handmade memorials and flowers were seen laid in respect.
Tomorrow, Jacksonville is hosting a special observance, hosted by the Jacksonville Civic Affairs Committee. Hargett said all those killed will be honored, though names may not be read as the military has continued to postpone the official release of the names of the victims. NewsChannel 12, through local reporting and via affiliates and other media outlets across the country, has identified 12 of the 16 service members who died.
"They will recognize all 16. Obviously if we don't have all the names they will be recognized as unidentified at this time," Hargett said. "We will be remembering them for their loss and for their connection to the Marine Corps incident."
The ceremony begins tomorrow at noon at the Freedom Fountain near the intersection of New Bridge Street and Johnson Boulevard.