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Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


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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 everything."

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."


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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox