2/3/2003 Historical commission up to
speed on veterans project
Daily Sun photo/LOYD COOK Navarro County Historical Commission
member Tim Easley displays the new "Digital 8" video camera that
arrived Monday, signaling the start of a project that will record
the memories of the county's veterans concerning their service.
By LOYD COOK/Daily Sun Staff
A national study estimates about
1,500 veterans of the armed forces pass away each day, a loss that is
also to history as well as to families.
Tim Easley, treasurer of the
Navarro County Historical Commission, said a local effort is about to
get up to speed. It's an effort to tape, on both video and audio
formats, the recollections and anecdotes of our veterans -- with an
initial emphasis on World War II veterans.
"They're the ones we're in danger
of losing first," Easley said, adding that it's estimated that Navarro
County has about 4,000 veterans of all classification and loses about
300 veterans per year.
The commission received a "Digital
8" video camera on Monday, a purchase included in its most recent
budget. It records in an 8-mm format, crucial because that is the format
the Library of Congress -- which is spearheading the national collection
of veterans' remembrances -- uses for archival purposes.
Historical commission officials
are seeking volunteers to aid in the effort. Although Easley (who works
in the county auditor's office) has been one of the chief organizers and
workers in the early stages of the project, "I don't have the time to do
every single interview. Family members can assist by doing the
interviews," he said.
It's a simple process, Easley
said. Read a prepared questionnaire (which the historical commission has
already produced) to the veteran and let he or she answer it.
"Just ask the question and then
let them talk," he said, adding that detail and human elements are the
things the project is going after.
Easley said the commission already
has a list made up of mostly World War II veterans who've already
expressed a willingness to be a part of the project.
And Easley is beginning the
process to start recording interviews with returning veterans of the
present Iraq war as they rotate home from their stints overseas.
The video project is just a part
of what the county's historical commission is working on now.
A war museum is in the early
stages. The Navarro County Commissioners Court agreed to let the
commission use a historic cabin -- located behind the county jail -- as
the site. Organizers say that its cleanup is set for this week and that
now the county has obtained a large, special container for storage of
records kept there, movement into the facility will accelerate.
Officials have been soliciting old
photographs and memorabilia for display there, with the photos scanned
into a computer for digital storage and later reproduction, allowing
their owners to retain the original.
"I've already had people promise
to donate memorabilia for when we get the cabin set up (as a museum),"
Easley said. "But we're always on the lookout for more -- of
Easley said he has kept up with
all the research and other material that went into organizing the effort
for the war memorial on the courthouse lawn and that he has "been
keeping one eye open and adding things to it."