Low Country Man to Hold Marine Reunion - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/26/03

Low Country Man to Hold Marine Reunion

Over the years, nearly a half a million Marine recruits came through Yemassee on their way to Parris Island. Now, a local business owner is trying to keep their stories alive. For 30 years, Roy Hughes, owner of Hughes General Merchandise, has heard these former Marines' stories as they make their way back to the train station at Yemassee, and now he's organizing a reunion.

"There's been hundreds of Marines that came back and retrace their footsteps," Hughes told us. "They try to rekindle old memories and take pictures of themselves at the train station."

From 1915 to the early 1960s, the Yemassee train station is where recruits landed before heading to Parris Island for intensive boot camp. It's a place most of them remember very well.

"Most of what they remember is--if they had a cigarette in their mouth--is getting it slapped out," recalled Hughes.

But when they come back to Yemassee to visit, they always seem look to Hughes for answers. "A lot of them want to know if that's the site, if that's the same train station," he said.

After hearing so many stories over the years, Hughes decided to organize a reunion in their honor. I thought it would be a good idea to honor them, that would be the least we could do to honor them," he said.

Since Hughes set the reunion date, just a week ago, he's received nearly 50 phone calls from former Marines who are interested in coming.

"When I would mention it to them, they were all receptive to the idea," Hughes said. "They were glad we were going to do it."

While we were in the store today, Hughes received two phone calls from former Marines. In fact, one man from Florida actually offered to help Hughes with the reunion.

The reunion will be September 19 at the Yemassee train station, during the Shrimp Festival. Contact Roy Hughes at 843.589.3385 for more information.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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