But a motion to formally apologize failed.
Instead the City Council with a 7-2 vote at 1 a.m. sought to clarify one of its Jan. 29 Marines motions with new language that recognizes "the recruiters' right to locate in our city and the right of others to protest or support their presence."
The new statement also said the council opposes "the recruitment of our young people into this war."
The council heard testimony from about 100 people who came from as far away as Colorado to weigh in on the issue.
At the same time, the council let stand four other items it passed at its previous meeting, including one encouraging "all people to avoid cooperation with the Marine Corps recruiting station," another asking the city attorney to investigate whether the recruiting station is breaking the city's law against discrimination based on sexual orientation and two items giving the peace group Code Pink a free weekly parking space and sound permit to protest at the Shattuck Avenue recruiting station once a week.
Berkeley High School student Lily Wynkoop, 14, told the council she would like to see the recruiters leave town. The recruiting office is a few blocks from the high school.
"We should feel safe on our own school grounds," Wynkoop said. "But when (the Marines) come around, that's not the environment we get. To those who say Berkeley is un-American, we say we love America, but we hate war."
On the other side of the spectrum of those who got to speak for one minute each was Debbie Lee who came from Arizona. Lee is the mother of Marc Lee, a Navy Seal who died in Iraq last year.
"My son gave up his life for this country, for you me and everyone in this room," Lee said. "I'm appalled at what the City Council has done. You tell us (the Marines) are not welcome in your city, that's appalling. You have offended us deeply. They are not murderers, and you owe them an apology."
E-mail Doug Oakley at email@example.com.