Seventy years ago Friday, Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Alexandar Bonnyman was fighting on the sands of the Pacific Island of Tarawa.
The East Tennessee marine was killed storming a Japanese bunker.
Friday, the Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Detachment of Marine Corps League honored his sacrifice with an annual service at his grave site in Knoxville.
Bonnyman earned his honor after his unit came under attack from Japaneses forces. The Knoxville native crawled to the entrance of the enemy's bunker and planted explosives. His assault drove close to one hundred Japanese soldiers from that bunker and allowed US troops to advance without further casualties. Bonnyman died in that battle.
Matthew Smith is a member of the Bonnyman Young Marine Unit. He says he took part in the service to honor the group's namesake and uphold tradition.
"One of the reasons that we participate is to show the changing of the seasons. Going from the old to the new. And just that we as young people still keep the traditions of the older generation," said Smith.
Lt. Bonnyman is one of 32 Medal of Honor recipients from Tennessee.