One of the more touching moments of finals week in Orlando occurred when SPIRIT from Jacksonville State University played tribute to the late Jim Ott, the corps' brass arranger (when they were known as Spirit of Atlanta), who died in a van accident while on tour during the 1980 season.
On semifinals night, the corps unveiled a giant flag of Ott during its show, eliciting much emotional response from those who knew Ott's tragic story. SPIRIT then sent the flag to the Ott family, who in turn took this picture and sent this message:
"We, the family of Jim Ott, wish to thanks the SPIRIT alumni for all of the wonderful mementoes that were sent to us honoring Jim. We played the DVD featuring SPIRIT and think it is a great show. As to the flag, our appreciation knows no bounds. It is truly a kind and thoughtful gesture. Our family will treasure it forever. Our sincere thanks, Harold, Patricia, Bonnie and Maggie."