THE FINAL BLOW
They were the forgotten members of the Lost Generation, traumatized veterans of the Great War who grasped for one last chance at redemption under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Six hundred of them were shuffled off to the Florida Keys to build a highway to Key West. On Labor Day weekend 1935, the most intense hurricane ever to strike the U.S. took aim on their flimsy shacks, and the two men responsible for evacuating the veterans from harm’s way waited too long.
After the storm, Ernest Hemingway took his boat from his home in Key West to aid the veterans in the Upper Keys but he found few survivors on the wreckage. His public cries of outrage bound him forever to the storm.