Museum to celebrate National Military Appreciation Month, VE Day

The Washington County Historical Society will commemorate National Military Appreciation Month and the anniversary of Victory in Europe Day with the unveiling of a bronze bust of WWII French ace fighter pilot, Captain Marcel Albert, who settled in Chipley with his wife after the war. The bronze bust was a gift from Russia in honor of Captain MarcelÂ’s contributions during WWII.

Museum Director Dorothy Odom encourages the public, especially military veterans, to attend the celebration, which will take place at 10:30 a.m., Friday, May 7, at the Farmers Market pavilion of the Washington County Historical Society.

“The festivities will include recognition of our WWII military veterans, the unveiling of the bronze bust, the placing of memorial wreaths, and an outdoor reception,” said Odom.

Odom also expanded on Captain MarcelÂ’s military achievements.

“Our ‘home town hero,Â’ Captain Marcel Albert, became a hero in several other countries – France, Great Britain, and Russia – during World War ll,” she stated in a press release Friday. “He flew more than 200 combat missions under the flags of three countries and earned countless awards and honors for his service, including the French Legion of Honor and Gold Star Hero of the Soviet Union.”

Captain Albert and his wife, Freda, moved to Chipley when they retired. After Freda’s passing, Marcel moved to Texas, but today they lay side by side in their adopted hometown of Chipley. 

The May 7 event will feature special guests, state and local officials, and representatives of France and Russia. Light refreshments will be served, and social distancing protocols will be observed. 

“This will be an exciting day,” said Odom. “The pandemic delayed the unveiling for a year. The bronze bust – a gift to us from Russia – will be a wonderful addition to our Veterans Memorial Wall. Several new displays have been set up in the museum featuring WWII veterans, memorabilia and, of course, Captain Albert.”