World War II veteran video added to state archives

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2017

In the summer of 2015, Opp native Jim Lawrence sent an email to Andalusia’s John Vick informing him of a special celebration commemorating the end of World War I.

The event, called the “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive” was to be held in August at the Air Force Armament Museum.

In John Vick fashion, he quickly organized a committee of locals including John Thompson, Sammy Glover, Kenneth Johnson, Kendra Majors, Greg White, Emilee Gage, Ben Bowden, Chrissy Duffy, Maggie Jones and Brian Foshee, to seek out local World War II veterans who would like to attend the event and businesses to sponsor a bus and banners honoring those who served.

The committee took more than a dozen World War II veterans to the celebration, which included Reveille, lectures on different aspects of the war, a re-enactment of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima and more.

But possibly the greatest thing to come out the event other than the fellowship was a three-hour long video of interviews with World War II veterans who were honored that day.

Vick solicited the help of local photographer and videographer Robert Evers, who interviewed the veterans who went to Eglin that day and then traveled with Vick to interview other World War II veterans who were identified, but unable to attend.

There was also a shorter version adapted for civic programs.

Both were recently accepted by the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

The videos are called “Program, Covington County WWII Veterans Celebration, Aug. 22, 2015, and DVD of Covington County WWII Veterans oral history interviews.”

Evers said he went down to Eglin that day to document the day..

“We went down there that day and we interviewed the ones we could,” he said. “It was so hot that day. Then, what we did was we called up some more veterans and did some extended interviews. The total DVD was a couple hours long, and then I was able to cut it down to about 35 minutes for John to have to show to service clubs.”

Evers said that it took some six more months after the August 2015 celebration to complete the DVD.

“We heard the stores and it grew into a project,” he said. “Last November the LAAC did a program honoring the veterans and we showed the video.”

While Evers worked diligently to complete the oral history, he is quick to say he’s just the video producer and gave a lot of credit to Vick.

“John Vick was the driving force behind it,” he said