In the back room of the Destin History & Fishing Museum, Kathy Marler Blue is working hard on putting together this year’s special exhibit for Founder’s Day.
The exhibit, called Destin’s Military Members, Civil War to Vietnam, will be on display at the museum Thursday, May 3, through Saturday, May 5.
Blue, who is the museum’s executive director, said that she wrote about 50 letters asking descendants of founding family members for artifacts and information on their relatives who served in the military dating all the way back to the Civil War.
She pointed out military registration cards from World War I and II, a helmet from Elisha Marler and a military jacket from her father, Ross Marler, among other things that will temporarily be on display for three days.
“The last two weeks, we’ve been frantically putting this exhibit together as we continue to receive memorabilia from local families,” Blue said. “We want to honor the military, especially those here.”
The Destin Military Members exhibit will be continuously curated and after Founder’s Day, will also be on display on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day.
Blue said she has heard many interesting stories about Destin residents who served in the Navy, Army Corps of Engineers and the Merchant Marines.
“The folks from here were very tied to the sea and very knowledgeable about boats,” said Blue. “In the early days of the war, there are lots of stories of Destin family members stepping up and performing the jobs of high-ranking officers who were seasick or incapacitated.”
On Saturday, the Founder’s Day celebration will take place at the Destin Community Center, where generations of Destin’s 16 founding families will gather for a reunion.
“Every year it grows bigger,” said Parker Destin. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for all the old families to get together and visit with one another. We have food, music and a dessert competition.”
Destin said that Founder’s Day is a great way to reunite with the old families of Destin in a setting that isn’t a funeral, wedding or council meeting.
According to Blue, the gatherings can be as big as 250 to 300 people.
“I’m going to invite everyone at Founder’s Day to head over to the museum to see the exhibit that commemorates their families," Blue said.
The Founder's Day celebrations is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and is open to public. A $5 donation per person is requested. Visitors can peruse the Destin Military Members exhibit on Saturday free of charge.