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Veterans Continue Their Mission At Historic Fort

Nancy Klingener
The Miami platoon of The Mission Continues traveled to the Tortugas for a service project that marked both the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and the centennial of the National Park Service.

  Over the weekend, many people in South Florida and throughout the nation took part in ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

One group of South Florida military veterans observed the anniversary by providing more service. The Miami platoon of The Mission Continues nonprofit traveled to Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park.

Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN
Navy veteran Roya Gordon helps clean up Fort Jefferson, as part of a Mission Continues project at Dry Tortugas National Park.

  The group has been working with the Suncoast chapter of the National Parks Conservation Association to help out the parks. The National Park Service is marking its centennial this year.

Roya Gordon was honorably discharged from the Navy in 2011 and joined up with The Mission Continues immediately, even as she was getting a master's degree from FIU.

"Like everyone, you join school, you use your post-9/11 GI Bill and you try to figure it out," she said. "You try to get acclimated to the civilian world."

The platoon includes veterans from all branches of the military. Most of them served after 9/11 — but not all. Angel Gual of Hollywood served 20 years in the Air Force, retiring in 1998.

He said he enjoys the camaraderie of the group, even as they occasionally razz each other.

"When you hear a Navy guy say something funny about an Army guy, or an Army guy about a Marine guy, it's always done in brotherly love," he said. "So it's really cool."

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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