A group of Marines, police officers and civilians gathered Thursday outside the Bluffton Police Department to honor all Marines, especially one who died last year in the line of duty.
The Marines held a flag-raising ceremony, using a flag that flew at a Marine base in Afghanistan.
Each member of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command unit had signed the flag while in Afghanistan.
A month later, one of those signers died. Master Sgt. Aaron Torian, 36, of Paducah, Ky., was killed Feb. 15, 2014, by an improvised explosive device.
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During the ceremony, David Bess, a civilian contractor with the 3/75 Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., briefly spoke about Torian.
"Aaron lives on in my heart," Bess said. "He was a real good guy, took care of his guys."
Bess worked for about a week with Torian on a weapon system at the base camp in Afghanistan, and they became friends.
"It was pretty devastating when I heard that he had been killed," Bess said.
Also at the ceremony were officers with the S.C. Highway Patrol and Bluffton Police Department, as well as a group of Marines who were visiting Bluffton for a reunion.
The retired Marines were part of a series of four platoons that went through boot camp together in 1962 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. Preston Means of Arkansas said they will go to Parris Island this week to visit the depot and watch a graduation ceremony.
"It's a time to get together and kind of see people; some of them we hadn't seen in 50-plus years," Means said. "It's an opportunity to get together and kind of relive our youth in some ways, tell war stories and just enjoy each other in a different environment than we were in IN our youth."
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.