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MEMORIAL DAY: ‘Band of brothers’ gathers at Arlington

ARLINGTON, Va. (BP)--Today's Marines in combat are our modern-day "Band of Brothers." The term Band of Brothers was popularized by the 2001 Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks 10-part TV miniseries about a U.S. Army elite paratrooper unit during World War II, based on a book by Stephen E. Ambrose. In the book and the miniseries, the men of "Easy Company" of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division formed a brotherhood of their shared experiences from basic training in 1942 at Camp Toccoa, Ga., to D-Day in June of 1944 and their ultimate triumph at the end of World War II. A modern-day band of brothers has shared a difficult, dangerous and traumatic experience in battle, losing their brothers-in-arms in combat. Those who know the true meaning of brotherhood have lived it daily and established a special bond that binds them together for the rest of their lives. This brotherhood was evident at Arlington National Cemetery during a bittersweet reunion of a small band of 18 Camp Lejeune Marines of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force on April 1. Charlie Company Marines gathered to pay homage and respect on behalf of their two fallen brothers, Tyler Owen Griffin of Voluntown, Conn., and Kevin Michael Cornelius of Ashtabula, Ohio, both Lance Corporals who gave their lives while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan in April 2010. From Camp Lejeune, N.C., the Marines were joined by the families, friends and loved ones of the fallen Marines who talked and exchanged memories and life experiences that brought them together. Standing at attention, the Charlie Company Marines looked on while the families and loved ones were given time to grieve alone through a moment of silence and prayer at the gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery. Slowly, one by one, each of the 18 Camp Lejeune Marines knelt down with dignity and honor, removed their covers and placed their hand on their fallen brothers' tombstones offering silent prayers, reflections and tears.