Hun­dreds gather to re­mem­ber war hero

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Local - By Wayne K. Rous­tan

An­thony Owens re­mem­bers that knock at the door 50 years ago when U.S. Marines de­liv­ered the news that his brother Gre­gory Carter had been killed in Viet­nam.

“My mama just dropped her head and af­ter they buried him there was no more mem­ory, un­til to­day,” he said at a cer­e­mony to mark Gre­gory Carter’s grave with a brass and gran­ite head­stone at Sun­set Me­mo­rial Gar­dens in Fort Laud­erdale.

“It’s like he woke up to the world again,” Owens said. “His life is mean­ing­ful. It means some­thing.”

An es­ti­mated 200 peo­ple at­tended the cer­e­mony at 11 a.m. Sat­ur­day in the ceme­tery at

3201 N.W. 19th St. The turnout caught him a lit­tle off guard.

“No I did not [ex­pect this many peo­ple],” Owens said. “It raised our spir­its, big time.”

Carter, a Dil­lard High School stu­dent, was drafted into the Marines at 19 and was sent to Viet­nam on the Fourth of July. He had a young son by then, and a daugh­ter on the way, but they would never know him.

Jef­frey Owens, 54, re­mem­bers his brother, but barely.

“I was only 4 when this hap­pened but I re­mem­ber the fu­neral,” he said. “That’s my ear­li­est mem­ory of my life.”

Pri­vate First Class Gre­gory Carter was killed in ac­tion Oct.

12, 1969. He laid in an un­marked grave un­til the Viet­nam Veter­ans of Amer­ica made the dis­cov­ery while track­ing down pho­to­graphs of Viet­nam veter­ans to place on the black gran­ite Wall of Faces in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion helped set things right by work­ing with the city of Fort Laud­erdale and oth­ers to get the grave marker. They also got his pic­ture from a base­ball team pho­to­graph in a Dil­lard High School year­book.

He was one of nine boys and six girls born to An­nie Mae

Carter Owens. An­thony Owens in­di­cated that might ex­plain his re­silience.

“He got shot in the shoul­der,” he said. “Since it was the war they patched him up and in two weeks he was back on the front lines.”

Gre­gory Carter rests with his mother, grand­par­ents, three sib­lings and other rel­a­tives in the same ceme­tery, only now every­one will know ex­actly where.

“If you die you’re just lost un­til some­body thinks about you again,” said An­thony Owens. “So his spirit

is prob­a­bly all around us right now. It’s a good thing. He’s do­ing good.”

WAYNE K. ROUS­TAN/SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SEN­TINEL PHO­TOS

An es­ti­mated 200 fam­ily, friends, veter­ans and other dig­ni­taries at­tended the cer­e­mony.

U.S. Ma­rine Corps PFC Gre­gory Carter went to war 50 years ago and the Viet­nam veteran was fi­nally re­mem­bered Sat­ur­day with a grave marker at a Fort Laud­erdale me­mo­rial ser­vice at­tended by hun­dreds.

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