Bits of Stone for Sunday, June 10, 2012
Former Times writer Kirk McNair is named to sports writers Hall of Fame
An alumnus of The Daily Times and of Maryville College, Kirk McNair was named the 18th member of the Alabama Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame earlier this week.
The native of Birmingham did some writing while a student at Ramsay High where he threw newspapers in the pre-dawn hours and then worked evenings on the desk at the Birmingham Post-Herald.
In the summer of 1963, he joined The Daily Times, beginning work tying bundles in the pressroom. It wasn’t long before his writing talent was discovered and ability to accurately report news events. For the next four years he essentially worked full time in the newsroom taking even the most difficult and varied assignments.
The Times is always very appreciative of its current employees who earn recognition and we try not to forget former employees who trained here in their early years and have gone on to notable achievement.
McNair attended the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University after leaving Maryville. He went to work for the Post-Herald, took graduate writing courses at the University of Alabama and moved up to assistant sports editor.
He founded and edited ’BAMA, an inside the Crimson Tide magazine, and the Internet site, http://BamaMag.com , covering University of Alabama athletics. He has won numerous national awards for football and basketball programs and press guides, including two national sportswriting awards in 2004. Now, both the magazine and the Internet site are part of the http://Scout.com network, a division of FoxSports.
He is past president of the National Collegiate Sports Publications Association, the Alabama Sports Writers Association and is permanent executive director of the Alabama Sports Writers.
Prior to starting ’BAMA more than 30 years ago, in 1979, he was sports information director at Alabama under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant during the Tide’s dominant years.
McNair is the author of three books: “What it Means To Be Crimson Tide,” “Game-Changers,” and “Always A Crimson Tide.” He has contributed to several other books and has written and edited numerous articles on Bryant and Alabama football history. He still covers the Crimson Tide on a daily basis.
Kirk and his wife Lynne, who have been married for 48 years, came to Blount County just to attend The Daily Times 125th parking lot anniversary celebration nearly three years ago. They have two children, Julia, a graduate of Vanderbilt, and Stuart, a graduate of Texas A&M.
Our congratulations to Kirk on his continuing recognition in Alabama and the nation.
End of World War I Will E. Parham letter from Maryville is unusual
For the sake of younger readers, Will E. Parham (March 9, 1860 - Dec. 26, 1946) was the son of William Thomas Parham (1833-1922) who in 1876-77 became sole owner of Maryville Woolen Mills, one of the early mills along Pistol Creek and Parham Hill at the present Maryville-Alcoa city limits, current site of the Blount County Public Library. The hill was named for the elder Parham who by 1901 had moved his business to Knoxville.
His son, William Edmund Parham, spent most of his years in Blount County where he became the most notable local historian, recording many events in his 86 years from memory. Many of them were obviously typed by the hunt and peck system while doing research. Many of these records are on file in the Parham Papers at the Blount County and other libraries.
Author Inez Burns of the Blount County History (1955) honored him and used his information widely in her book. Copies of her book may still be purchased from the Blount County Genealogical and Historical Society. (Check the Blount Library for details).
Other needed details: World War I, hailed as the war to end all wars, ended at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918.
Lester O. Lane of Pigeon Forge has shared with me a copy of an unusual letter. Written by Will E. Parham on Nov. 10, 1918, was postmarked in Maryville at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. The receiving postmark in Glasgow, Ky., was at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 12.
Written to cousin W. D. Tolle, Will E. Parham indicated he had come to Blount County in April 1918 and was working in the ALCOA employment office. He had just returned from a trip to Nashville for ALCOA.
Parham indicated his family still lived in Harriman where more than 80 had died of the ‘flu’ but he hoped to move them to Blount County after the winter when he could sell his house there to a better advantage. He added many had died in Blount.
Ever a historian, Parham bemoaned the loss of local historical records being bought up by other states including Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
Writing of his concern for WWI, he said, “My son Phillipp Parham was gassed on June 14. 1918, in hospital to Sept. 1, and on Sept. 20, was back in the hospital, slightly wounded. (Son) Stirling has been there since August but not reported as in any skirmishes yet. I hope peace will soon come.” Little did he realize it was so near.
The marker at Will E. Parham’s grave in Magnolia Cemetery lists his birth date but instructs viewers to check authorities on the death date. It was erected prior to his death.
Two other grave markers in Magnolia:
• Cpl. Philip Thomas Parham, Sixth Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps, born March 3, 1890, died Aug. 11, 1960.
• Cpl. Stirling E. Parham III, machine gun company, 330th Infantry. Born June 9, 1896, died April 18, 1949.
Care, support of U.S. wounded personnel is our responsibility
As a nation we tend to hide from and/or ignore many who are serving our country around the world. Many put their life on the line 24 hours a day for you and me under the leadership of our nation, regardless of political party majority in Congress or the White House.
Many who are fortunate enough to survive their active duty have through their wounds lost any semblance of a normal life, a loss which no amount of money or care can repay. Possibly more important than the money is the lack of adequate appreciation by all of us - those who fail to adopt the responsibility of legal citizenship and the legal residents who feel no responsibility toward our nation, even failing to vote in our elections.
Military medical care has become excellent in recent years but for many that means confined for perhaps a lifetime in a hospital, isolated from their family and home. The wounded are taken to the Veterans Administration Hospital that can best treat their injury and often that is far from home. Today, too many of us stare at the seriously wounded able to return home as if they were some foreigner from outer space, not a fellow American who has put his or her life on the line for us.
Readers of history know that following World War I some communities passed ordinances requiring veterans with very ugly facial wounds from having been gassed to wear a mask while in public to protect the view by the public.
Those who are serving are not just a very few. Latest records we found show 6,028 U.S. military members have been killed and 45,742 have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is something we cannot continue to ignore. Army Times apparently reported that 950 wounded veterans under VA care attempt suicide each month.
It may be just a statistic until it is your father or mother, brother or sister, or son or daughter who is the victim. We as a nation send our finest into harm’s way. We as citizens, as well as our government, should treat these veterans as first class citizens and with great compassion!
Dean Stone is editor of The Daily Times.