Accepting Hall of Fame awards at the annual Texas Newspaper Foundation dinner were (from left) Elizabeth Hawkes Turner, Kay Ellen Hawkes Goodyear and Erin Hawkes Chaney, daughters of honoree George W. Hawkes; Alvin Holley, accepting for Lowry Martin; Mike Hodges, accepting for Milt Morin; and Larry Jackson, emcee and TNF president.
FRISCO – At the 2017 Texas Newspaper Foundation hall of Fame dinner, retired New England Newspaper Association Director Morley Piper brought to life a somber moment in history during the Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame dinner with his recollections of the pivotal World War II battle he and other young men of the 29th Infantry fought on the beaches of Normandy.
On the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014, Piper went back to the scene of the battle to attend commemorative ceremonies hosted by the ten communities on the Normandy coast that were liberated by the invasion.
“There were only six of us there,” Piper said, “and we enjoyed being with one another for what will probably be the last time.”
Piper recalled the young soldiers of the 29th Division – most were 19 to 20 years old – and the daunting task they faced on the gray cold morning of June 6, 1944 as they “came ashore in small boats in one of the most momentous military engagements in history, an epic battle that changed the course of the war.”
Piper noted that the waves of soldiers took so many hits that the Allied Command at one point thought the invasion was failing.
“It didn’t fail and it marked the beginning of the end of the long Nazi occupation of Western Europe,” Piper said.
He spoke with pride of the civilian army of ordinary young men who had just come through the steel grip of the Depression and with short training went up against the professional German army.
Remembering his division, Piper said: “We had 14,000 soldiers at full strength (before reserves) and 22,000 casualties - 150 percent.”
In concluding his talk, Piper insisted that his role in the war years “was pretty small, but I was in the company of some very brave men. We few, we happy few, our blue-and-gray band of brothers. He who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”
The 2017 Hall of Fame awards were presented by TNF President Larry Jackson. With the 11th annual ceremony, the Hall of Fame now includes 42 men and women who have impacted the state and nation through their accomplishments in journalism.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2017 includes the late George W. Hawkes, Arlington Citizen-Journal; the late Lowry Martin, Corsicana Daily Sun; and the late Milt Morin, Houston Daily Court Review.
Jackson noted that he knew honoree Hawkes as a respected competitor when starting his own career as a reporter for the Arlington Daily News.
Erin Hawkes Chaney accepted her father’s award on behalf of her family, many of whom attended the dinner.
Alvin Holley of Polk County Publishing, Livingston, accepted the award for Martin. Holley said he began his newspaper career as a 10-year-old carrier at the Corsicana Sun, where Martin was publisher for many years. Holley said the award will be donated to a museum in Corsicana.
TPA Executive Director Mike Hodges accepted Morin’s award on behalf of the Morin family, who were unable to attend. He noted the long-time support of public notices in newspapers by Morin and generations of his family, owners of the Houston Daily Court Review since 1889. A participating member of TPA, Morin served in many national associations as well, working on legislative committees to ensure the continued publication of notices.