More than 60 years ago the forgotten coast of Carrabelle was a training ground for World War II soldiers. Many of these veterans made their way back to the coastal community to reunite in a parade.
Veterans descend on the coastal community of Carrabelle, Florida, reuniting with many of the soldiers who fought side by side with them in World War II.
Mayor Mel Kelly says, "It's important; structure, foundation and heart of what this county is. Of great people like my father and so many of these other veterans who gave their life, their time sacrificed, their families to keep their country safe."
Camp Gordon Johnston in Carrabelle was a main training camp for those soldiers. The coastal area was the perfect training ground providing soldiers with the amphibious training that helped them when they landed on the beaches of Normandy.
Wilburn Messer, a WWII vet, says, "I was one of the first soldiers that came to Camp Gordon Johnston. We trained everywhere. You name it, we trained it. We trained with the rattle snakes. It was the worst U ever saw."
Marvin Kruse, a WWII veteran, says, "One of the ships on the landing craft we were on, we hit a sandbar and the Coxy thought it was Dog Island. And by gosh, 16 men from our regimen drowned. They went one after another with their packs on."
And for the past 11 years veterans return to the area, taking part in the reunion parade to honor and celebrate the sacrifices these American heroes have made.
As part of the reunion, the city also hosted a fish fry and a dedication ceremony at the Veterans Park.