MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Former landowners of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune gathered to share memories at the 23rd Annual Camp Lejeune Former Landowners Reunion aboard base, Oct. 6.
More than 150 former residents gathered at Courthouse Bay Bachelor’s Quarters to look at memorabilia, swap family stories and enjoy homemade food.
In 1941, the families who occupied what is now known as Camp Lejeune, received a check for $25 and a letter from the government, stating they had to leave their homes because the government acquired the land for the construction of the base in preparation for World War II.
“This terrain is the best terrain in the world for the Marine Corps to train,” said Brig. Gen. Robert F. Castellvi, commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “Millions of Marines have called Camp Lejeune their home. There are hundreds of thousands of Marines who trained on base in preparation for the past wars who are alive today because of this base.”
The annual reunion is an opportunity for former residents to reconnect with old neighbors and friends and for younger generations to participate in a part of living history.
Those families, now scattered across the country, reunite yearly to share stories about a place they once called home.
“It shouldn’t take a reunion to give you the opportunity to come back and visit your home,” added Castellvi.
Although few original residents remain, children and grandchildren of original landowners also attended the reunion, learning about their ancestors and discovering of new family.
“Some people come here and meet family members they never knew they had,” said Albert L. Hurst, an original landowner. “It’s good for us to get together every year and share our stories.”
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