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Washington County honors hometown hero in a big way

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 8:21 PM CDT
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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Washington County Historical Society is honoring a former World War II French veteran in a big way. On Friday, officials unveiled a giant bust of Captain Marcel Albert.

“It is 286 pounds, made of bronze, and is three-foot tall,” Washington County Historical Society Director Dororthy Odom said.

After flying more than 200 combat missions in three countries, Albert settled down with his wife in Chipley. It’s the city they called home for more than 20 years.

Albert passed away in 2010 but is still remembered as a hero in France, Great Britain, and Russia. He’s a hometown hero to the people of Washington County. But, long-time friend Jean Marie Garric said if Albert was still around, he would have never expected to be given such a great honor.

“He would be surprised because he told me several times you know Jean Marie, I think I was forgotten. Nobody remembers me in France,” Garric said.

The bust was a gift from the Russian Government, which matches two already on display in Paris and Moscow. This one will be added to the Veterans Memorial Wall outside the Washington County Historical Society Museum.

“So really this is not just about this man’s life but the entire sacrifice of all those that came before us. Without their sacrifices, we would not have truly the freedoms that we have today,” Washington County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ted Everett said.

Albert may be gone, but he is not forgotten.

“He is still very much alive in the memory of the people,” Garric said.

And his legacy will live on for generations to come.

The unveiling of the bust had many in attendance including state and local officials and representatives of France and Russia.

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