Looking back: In 1982, the story of war eagle was told

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

In 1982, Atmore was getting ready for its annual chamber of commerce banquet. Banker John Garrard was selected to be Citizen of the Year, much to his surprise.

The county commission members and the sheriff’s deputies were at odds over the payment of overtime. I don’t know the final results of that argument.

The 13th annual Alabama State Turkey Calling Contest was to be held in Jackson.

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I can relate a little bit to this one in that my brother-in-law is all about hunting and turkey calling. He is pretty good at it and has won several awards for it.

The Atmore Advance was going strong in 1982 after 78 years of print.

They had 10 full-time employees and four part time. You sure won’t find that many today. So much work has been taken over by technology that it doesn’t take as many workers to put out a paper.

The Best Western Motel was under construction and was set to open April 1, 1982. There was also to be a family type restaurant and gift shop added to the motel.

There was a story in the Progress edition of The Atmore Advance about the growing of satsumas, oranges and Ramie. Farmers were not afraid to try a variety of different things to grow. Most of them did not succeed because of the wrong kind of soil.

Did you know that Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery was named after a Robinsonville resident?

It was named after Lt. William Maxwell who was from Robinsonville. He served in World War I and in 1920 he was flying and delivering mail in the Philippines when he developed engine trouble. He was going to crash and noticed that there were children on the ground. In order not to hit them, he made a turn and crashed his plane near what became Clark Air Force Base. He was brought back home to Escambia County and buried in a private cemetery near his home. His sacrifice on that day earned him the right for his name to be used for the Montgomery base.

There was another good story in the newspaper. This one was about how the eagle and “war eagle” came to be.

During the Civil War, a soldier was wounded during the Battle of the Wilderness. He lay on the ground for a while and when he came to, the only thing he saw living was an eagle that was also wounded. He brought the eagle home with him and returned to school in Auburn. He kept the eagle for many years and in 1892 at the game in Atlanta the bird took off and soared over the stadium when Auburn made its first touchdown. It screamed over the field and someone began to cheer for “War Eagle” which was his name for obvious reasons. The eagle was now an old bird and he died of exhaustion after the game, which Auburn won.

Now all of you who think I am making this up, I promise you that I am not. It may not be a true story, but it sounded good to me.