Local veterans are sharing in their sadness for the loss of their fellow Marines in the Hawthorne tragedy. The Marine Corps League of Las Vegas is planning a memorial service to remember the seven killed and to honor their service.
Norman Honadle has served 38 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including the front lines of the Vietnam War. While he's seen his share of tragedy, he says loss of life is never easy.
"You feel heartbroken because they're brothers," said Honadle. "It possibly could have been prevented. We don't know until the investigation is over."
Honadle, who is familiar with how mortars operate, said the seven killed take a risk when they sign up for duty, even in training situations.
"They are part of our family," said Honadle. "You know the saying - once a Marine, always a Marine."
Honadle and his comrades spent the day writing sympathy cards to the victim's families to let them know they're not alone. Bill Collier from the Marine Corps League shared his card.
"God give us courage for tomorrow," said Collier. "God comfort you always. Then I wrote Semper Fidelis for all our fallen fellow Marines."
It's a way to help veterans heal at a time when the accident brings back painful memories.
"We are in mourning but also know these things happen," said Dave Jochman, who is from the Marine Corps League. "We all served. We all saw it happen."
During this rough patch, the Marines are staying true to the motto they live by and are remaining faithful to each other.
"God will take care of them," said Honadle. "They are in a happy place."
This Friday, the Marine Corps League is having a public memorial service at 6 p.m. They plan to place seven U.S. flags at a memorial to represent the seven fallen Marines.
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