American and Moultrie flags lined the streets of Sullivan's Island on Saturday as the town celebrated Carolina Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan's Island.
The battle was an improbable victory of the South Carolina militia against the British Royal Navy during the Revolutionary War. On that day in 1776 the forces at Fort Sullivan - now Fort Moultrie - were outmanned 10 to one and outgunned 20 to one, but prevailed after 9 and a half hours of battle. The victory was a turning point in the war, preceding the Declaration of Independence by six days.
"People stood tall there and changed the course of the war," South Carolina Adjudant Gen. Robert Livingston said. "With what we did on the 28th of June, the war would have never been won. The U.S. would never have been formed."
In Charleston, residents joined in a procession down Meeting Street and laid wreathes at the Jasper Monument at White Point Gardens.
At the site of the battle, Revolutionary War re-enactors led cannon and musket demonstrations while visitors toured Fort Moultrie, now a National Monument site.
Forty-six flags were raised over Fort Moultrie on Saturday morning - one for each county in South Carolina - and were later folded by Boy Scouts at the grave site of Gen. William Moultrie.
The flags were presented to the families of National Guardsmen killed in the war on terror and to Guardsmen cited for exemplary service.
"This battle was when the defenders of South Carolina first stood up, and they're still standing for us today," said Don Campagna, a member of the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust's board.
Livingston presented the flags to the families and Guardsmen in attendance, who were honored with bell chimes after the presentation.
"We don't forget our fallen, and we don't forget our living," Livingston said.
Sgt. 1st Class Brenda Williams was excited and surprised to receive the honor, which she said she'd never expected.
"It's wild. When I got the email, I thought it was a hoax," Williams said. "I'm honored, really."
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