Tag: Jacksonville Alabama

Listen to the sirens, hymns and cries while help is on the way

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

If you listen, you can hear it.

You can hear the ear-piercing alarm from an apartment building missing most of its exterior; the sounds of chainsaws slicing up fallen trees blocking the roads; the sirens from emergency vehicles racing through a dampened city.

But if you listen closer, you can hear the cries for help from the students who just had their world rocked by a tornado moments prior. A tornado that wasn’t supposed to hit Jacksonville State University. A tornado that wasn’t supposed to hit … home.

If you asked any of those displaced 18-22-year-old students why they chose to come to JSU, the unanimous response would be, “because it felt like home.”

It felt like home because they are surrounded by friends — some young, some older — they consider family. Just look at the Instagram posts. The football team. The basketball teams. The softball team. The baseball team. Sororities and Fraternities. Those who work together and those who only see each other during study sessions.

“It was never the buildings, the trees or the stadiums that made Jacksonville home,” said former JSU punter and Australian native Hamish Macinnes on social media Tuesday afternoon. “It was the incredible people that made it so special. No wind can blow that away.”

Everyone intertwines to form a bond that shares one thing in common: We are all Jacksonville State Gamecocks and we are all hurting right now.

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If you listen, you can hear the sound of a 1929 gospel song echo through the halls of a weathered Mason Hall. Or ringing through an emptied Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.

The Marching Southerners singing “I’ll Fly Away” has been a staple of Jacksonville State since the downed trees along Highway 204 were planted. The hymn gives hope; it gives meaning; it gives inspiration to those who listen.

“In the wake of all these storms and seeing the damage done to our treasured university, I think all of us Gamecocks are singing ‘I’ll Fly Away’ in our hearts,” tweeted JSU graduate Caden Crosby deep into Monday night. “We are JSU.”

Fellow Gamecock graduate Collin Barnwell took it a step further and posted the lyrics on his social media.

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When all feels lost. When all seems clueless. When all hurts.

Continue to listen.

Because help is on the way.

As sure as roofs will be placed back on Logan and Patterson Hall and as sure as Pete Mathews Coliseum will be repaired, you aren’t alone. A simple tweet asking for someone to check on a pet; a Facebook message asking a friend for a place to stay or a Snapchat post reaffirms that belief.

That’s what makes Jacksonville State home. No one is ever alone, especially in a time of such need.

“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

O’ Brother’s, where art thou?

With the announcement that Brother’s Bar is for sale, Jacksonville could be at risk of losing a piece of history over the course of the next few months.

Dan Nolen, owner and co-founder of the bar, opened the hotspot in 1976 with the help of his brother at about the time he graduated from Jacksonville State University.

“There was nothing for the students, no where for them to go,” Nolen said last week in an interview with Fox 6.

Originally called My Brother’s Bar, the nearly forty-year-old establishment has been a part of the university experience for students at JSU for decades.

Even though there is competition between Brother’s and Pelham’s, the experience at each establishment is a completely different one.

The tree stump stools at Brother’s attribute to the rustic atmosphere, which contrasts with the new age feel of Pelham’s.

No matter which bar students prefer, not having one of the bars in town will be a historic change to Jacksonville’s small-town records.

The announcement of the property going up for sale with King reality surprised other small-business owners in the community, too. Carol Watts, owner of Mad Hatter cupcakes just around the corner from Brother’s, said that she hates to see it go.

“Our parking lot is always full when they have a show,” Watts said.

When prompted about his reasoning behind selling the beloved hangout, Nolen told Fox, “It’s a younger person’s game now, it’s time to move on.”

The Charlie Daniels Band, Wet Willie, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Sister Hazel and Zac Brown are just a few of the numerous groups that have performed at the venue over the years. Greek life at JSU has rented out the bar many times since it has been open to the public.

Nothing is certain yet in regards to the bar closing its doors, even though there have been several inquiries about purchasing the property. As of now, no further events have been booked past December 5.

Nolen also told Fox that the “changing landscape in live entertainment and how it’s been affected by social media” are huge aspects he had to take into account when deciding the future of the beloved bar.

Alex McFry
Associate Editor