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Contact: Sandra Tennyson, 850-934-2629
Gulf Breeze, Fla. - Gulf Islands National Seashore officials announced the annual commemoration of Private Rosamond Johnson will be held at the Perdido Key Area on May 6, 2017 at 10:00 am. A commemoration ceremony and wreath lying will take place at the Star Pavilion. The event is open to the public and all are encourage to attend.
Scheduled speakers include Dan Brown, Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent and Alison Davenport, Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce, and Eugene Franklin, President/CEO Florida Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. The NATTC Color Guard and Vocalist group will perform. The ceremony will conclude with words from the Johnson family, and wreath laying ceremony at the Johnson monument. This program is made possible by the support of the Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce, Johnson Beach Society, and Florida Black Chamber of Commerce.
After enlisting in the U.S. Army at 15, Johnson died in combat two years later on the Korea Peninsula. While engage with the enemy, on July 26, 1950, Private Johnson carried two wounded soldiers to safety. His was fatally wounded while attempting to save a third wounded man. On August 21, 1950, Rosamond was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for the wounds he sustained while saving his fellow soldiers.
At the time of his death, Pensacola beaches were racially segregated. The Sunset Riding Club, Inc. leased a county owned recreational area in 1950 for the sole use of bathing and recreational facilities for “colored citizens.” In honor of his ultimate sacrifice, and in recognition as the first Escambia County resident, the recreational area became known as Rosamond Johnson Beach. The area became park of Gulf Islands National Seashore in 1971, and the name was retained. Today, a monument and wayside honor Private Johnson and his service to the United States of America.
Johnson Beach is located within the Perdido Key Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore. It is one of the most popular beach recreation areas of the seashore and is open daily from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. There is an entrance fee for this area.
About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat. Visit us at www.nps.gov/guis, on Facebook www.facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/GulfIslands_NPS, and Instagram www.Instagram.com/GulfIslandsNPS.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice and Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice.