PERDIDO KEY, Fla. (WALA) - Johnson Beach in Perdido Key, Florida was the place to remember and honor the man behind its namesake and that man is fallen American hero Rosamond Johnson, Jr.
Private Johnson died at 17-years-old while serving in the Korean Conflict.
Pvt. Johnson's family gathered on the beach on Saturday, May 4 to honor his sacrifice and to celebrate his life.
Raymond Reese was only 5-years-old when his brother Rosamond was killed.
"They would send the telegram by motorcycle. We were in the yard playing when they brought it and then the hollering and screaming started. My brother was gone. It was sad but it's all paying off now," said Reese.
On July 26, 1950, while his squad was under fire, Johnson carried two wounded comrades to safety.
He was on his way back to rescue a third comrade when he was killed.
"It was very touching. It was really beautiful how it was put together. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. It was very fulfilling. I felt like I wanted to break down in tears," Reese said.
Private Johnson was awarded the purple heart, which now rests in the home of his 97-year-old mother Alice.
Reese says he's honored to say Johnson was his brother.
"It was a good feeling to think about how young he was and that he was able to pull men to safety," said Reese.
Officials say Johnson joined the military at 15-years-old and was the first African-American from the Pensacola area to die in the Korean War.
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