CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Eighty years ago, folks in South Texas were waking up to both concern and excitement.
It was the Summer of 1942, and the Coastal Bend was going to war.
This is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of our 30-minute news documentary.
It started as a thought that I had for a story when I first arrived here in Corpus Christi in August of last year. I had read the many accounts of what times were like back then; right after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, thrusting the United States into battle on two war fronts. Then I started hearing the personal accounts from those who lived here during that time period.
Call it fate, but the door opened for a documentary after Nueces County Coastal Parks Director Scott Cross spearheaded an effort to have Corpus Christi and the surrounding area designated as an American World War II Heritage City. It was a contest that Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales joined to help make reality.
Canales, Nueces County Veterans Services Officer JJ De La Cerda, and Veterans Round Table Corpus Christi radio host Dotson Lewis set up an event at Del Mar College and invited people from throughout the Coastal Bend to bring WWII artifacts and tell their stories. All information collected would be gathered and entered into the Heritage City contest.
During the event, I was graciously allowed to interview a few of the people who attended. After listening to their stories, I began to form the framework for my 30-minute special.
At least two more months of research and organizing; more interviews; video shoots aboard the USS Lexington, Port Aransas, and Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi; and writing and editing, this documentary finally came together.
It’s a fast-paced, account-based news special that is sure to intrigue and educate people about the fears and fascination surrounding events that turned Corpus Christi into one of the most popular destinations in the United States.
We hope you join us at 6:30 p.m. August 12 for “Summer of ‘42: The Coastal Bend Goes to War” on KRIS 6.
More Veterans In Focus stories are available here, along with resources for local veterans. Contact Veterans In Focus reporters: Greg Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org and Pat Simon at email@example.com