Survivors pay respects at mass burial site for victims of terrifying hurricane of 1928

PAHOKEE, Fla. - On September 16, 1928 one of the deadliest storms in the nation's history swept through our area. 83 years later two survivors still have memories of the devastation it left to their community.

The 'Storm of 1928' hit Palm Beach, Broward, Okeechobee, Martin and Hendry Counties hard. It left at least 2,500 people dead and 1,600 of those are buried in a mass grave at the Port Mayaca Memorial.

Friday about 50 people, mainly senior citizens, came out to pay their respects to those who died.

Two people in the group were survivors; Ethel Williams and Pernell Green. The two of them said they were 3-years-old at the time.

"I just came to remember," Green said. "What was bad was I was too young to know what was going on. While they were dying I was playing in the water."

Green says his family was living in Belle Glade.

"Water was on the second floor coming in through the window and as the water came through the window I was patting it," he said.

The next day he was told the storm was gone, but the widespread devastation wasn't.

"My mother had to tow water from the lake in a bucket for us to drink," Williams said. "When you got back there was nothing on the ground nothing, but the old shacks we lived in."

The Wall of Remembrance that was displayed at the anniversary ceremony showed those shacks weren't really good shelter, especially when it rained.

"You could look up in the sun and see the sun rising a lot of days," Williams said.

Now, 83 years later, Williams and Green consider themselves lucky to still be able to see the sun rising and not through the top of their house either.

"It's a blessing for us to come together and commemorate the things that happened way back yonder," Williams added.

Especially because she said it really reminds you of how deadly storms can be.

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