eFuniak Springs recently added to its rich history by welcoming home its World War II hero, Lt. Ewart T. Sconiers, and its citizens’ warm embrace will soon be felt around the world.
Lt. Sconiers was the only American officer who hadn’t returned from Stalag Luft III, the German prison camp made famous by the movie The Great Escape. The story of Sconiers’ heroism, mysterious death while imprisoned, and the twelve-year journey to find his grave and bring him back to the place he loved will soon be told in a full length, feature documentary to be shared across America and in film festivals abroad.
The documentary, “Finding Sconiers,” is being created by journalists Jennifer Holton and Ky Sisson. They filmed every moment from Sconiers’ arrival in Pensacola and the FHP, military, and Patriot Guard-flanked processional, to the DeFuniak Springs city parade and Chautauqua tree planting, to his memorial service and burial with full military honors. Holton’s and Sisson’s interviews revealed an international community of “Promise Keepers” whose passionate dedication to America’s pledge, determination, resilience, patriotism, and partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency brought Sconiers to his mother’s side at Southwide Baptist Church Cemetery. Such community spirit ultimately included hundreds of DeFuniak citizens—of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life—-who lined city streets and filled a church to honor a man whom they had never even met.
Sconiers’ story did not end Jan 27, 2018 with Eglin pilots’ awe-inspiring Missing Man salute, for the reach of DeFuniak’s remarkable homecoming continues to impact anyone who hears about it or witnesses its images. It’s a story that echoes everything DeFuniak citizens hold in common, the bigger messages that speak to people everywhere, and the principles of freedom and humanity for which Sconiers—and hundreds of thousands— have died. It’s a story of hope for families of the 80,000+ still missing from prior conflicts and certainty of America’s promise to active duty service personnel and their families.
Holton and Sisson will be entering the “Finding Sconiers” documentary in the June 2019 WWII Film Festival in Normandy, France, a festival that will commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The award for film festival winners is non-monetary; thus, the highly respected journalists’ efforts are truly non-profit.
Holton and Sisson are approaching the documentary’s finish line, but they need the DeFuniak Springs community’s help to cross it. They launched a modest GoFundMe campaign to cover outstanding costs and are over halfway there. Readers, businesses, and organizations are urged to visit their website http://www.FindingSconiers.com, view the trailer, and click on “donate” to contribute to the “Finding Sconiers” GoFundMe drive. Contributions in any amount are welcome and will ensure sharing of a story about love of country and duty that led to the ultimate sacrifice, a story of a nation….and a hero’s hometown…that kept its promise.