The Old Rugged Cross
True Story by Janice Frye

The Cross on Pensacola Beach has been on that sand dune for over 50 years. It commemorates the site where the first Christian services were held in 1559, shortly after Tristan de Luna and his crew landed there. The Spanish settlement failed eventually, but the cross is there to commemorate the attempt. A sunrise service is held there every Easter Sunday.

It has been amazing to me that this cross has weathered so many storms and has never been destroyed. Hurricane Opal tore up Pensacola Beach in 1995, but the cross still stood. Many other smaller hurricanes have tried to knock it down and failed. But Hurricane Ivan had me worried. There was total devastation on Pensacola Beach after Ivan’s fury. My husband, Rick, a police officer, is automatically assigned to the beach during hurricanes and was the first one out there at dawn as the winds were still fairly strong. The bridge had been knocked down, so he had to get over there by boat.

The first thing I asked when I finally heard from him was, "What about the cross?" He said, "I've already taken a picture for you."

I find it incredible that it still stands, considering it's only a few yards from a roadway that was totally demolished and all the homes in that area were leveled.

Rick said, “Not only has it remained standing, it has never been damaged…not even a scratch.”


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Music "Old Rugged Cross" sung by Elvis