In the mid-1970s my good friend, Charles “Buck” Hinton, turned me onto a southern rock band from Jacksonville — Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Oct. 20, 1977 was a sad day for us — that’s when Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane crashed in the woods eight miles west of the Gillsburg exit off of Federal Highway 55 after a concert in Greenville South Carolina.
Over the years I’ve heard serveral stories about the crash, what it was like and what caused it.
A new documentary I’ll Never Forget You features original behind-the-scenes film footage of life with the band before the crash, dramatic reenactments illustrating key dramatic scenes, and high-end CG animations--including a simulation of the plane crash that matches the NTSB report.
It’s the story told by three survivors — security guard Gene Odom, lead backup singer Leslie Hawkins, and guitar tech Craig Reed. Rare interviews with four first responders were also captured, filmed on location at the crash site in Gillsburg, Mississippi.
On Oct. 21, 2019 Judy Van Zant-Jenness, the widow of original Lynyrd Skynyrd frontman Ronnie Van Zant, stood atop a set of steps in the middle of the Mississippi countryside. At her feet were six yellow roses. Behind her was a yet-to-be unveiled monument that would forever combine the influential Southern rock band with Mississippi.