Looking back: 1966 held two of the most-talked about stories of time

Published 11:05 am Monday, June 6, 2016

In 1966 the stories in The Atmore Advance seemed to have two of the most-talked about subjects of the time.

Fifty years ago people were thinking about either the country’s desegregation or the war in Vietnam.

Desegregation was all about the schools and student’s rights, at least that is the way it seemed in Atmore. Students were being offered the “freedom of choice” in schools within the county.

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The Vietnam Ward was beginning to click in the public’s minds. The commander of the American Legion, Blue Barber, spoke to the local American Legion members and their wives. In his speech he praised those serving in the military while at the same time warning of the dangers of getting more involved with the war in Vietnam. His words would be remembered later.

I remember 1966 well. We were living in Greenville at the time and the 6 o’clock news let us know every day just how many of our soldiers were being killed in that little country. They called those people going to Vietnam “advisors” at the time, and I can remember hearing that the death toll had risen by two or three that day. That was before it became too many to announce. In hindsight, little did we know just how deadly it was going to be and the results were not at all as we expected them to be. Let me say, I hated the war, but those that answered the call to duty were some of our smartest and brightest and deserved a better welcome home than they received. They did their jobs as they were told to do and I salute them all. This will be in my mind this coming Memorial Day.

In other news, Swift Lumber Company announced that it was to expand and would be hiring 35 men to the workforce and would be running a double logging operation.

In the recent Democratic primary, winners were Lurleen Wallace and Scotty Byrne.

There was a photograph in the newspaper of five rattlesnakes which were collected by Larry Gibbs. The caption stated that the photograph would have been much clearer if the photographer had not been scared to death to get closer.

An airplane that had been missing for two days was found near the Atmore Airport. The two people on the plane were killed. They worked for Atmore and Foley crop dusting services.

In one blood drive 141 pints were collected, while in a special blood drive at Atmore Prison Farm netted 370 pints for use in Vietnam.

The Escambia County Grand Jury met and passed down a number of indictments. Part of their job was to inspect the jail and the courthouse. The jail was said to be in need of some repair and both the jail and the courthouse needed maintenance.

I served on the Grand Jury one time. I found it to be very interesting. We also had to inspect the jail. I remember thinking that I never wanted to be shut up in it.

One last thing I wanted to mention was the fact that I noticed color in the newspaper for the first time. It wasn’t very good and it was only the colors red and green. Thank goodness progress has been made and today we have lots of colors.