On June 26, 1891, a small detachment of U.S. Marines was sent to Parris Island. On June 11, 1911, the recruit depot came into operation based on a three-company contingent. With World War I raging, the recruit depot underwent a massive expansion.
In 1915, the hamlet of Yemassee opened its doors to young recruits arriving by train, coming from the farms, hills, and cities all over the eastern half of the country. These young men were on their way to a life-changing experience at Parris Island. More than 500,000 recruits, who passed through the train depot, were trained to be the best fighting force in the world. Close to 50,000 Marines gave their lives to protect and preserve our freedom and way of life. Those who have fallen will forever be on “eternal patrol” — Semper Fi.
In 2002, Roy Hughes, a local business man, thought something should be done for these young men who gave up the best years of their lives. He, with some friends, formed the “Yemassee Train Depot Marine Reunion.” With a lot of research and some hard work, the reunion got on track. Now in its 12th year, the reunion is planning to install a bronze plaque on the outside wall of the train depot for all to see. This plaque will honor the U. S. Marines who came to Parris Island via train.
The unveiling of the plaque will take place on Friday, October 17, at 2 p.m. at the Yemassee train depot. The public is invited to this historic Marine event. Due to an expected large turnout, seating will be available for dignitaries and the handicapped only. For more information, call Roy at 843-589-3385.