One of the most one-of-a-kind characteristic of the 11-turn, 2.17-mile Big Device Music City Grand Prix road training course is the Korean War Veterans Bridge. It’s a 1,660-foot, clear arch period bridge that goes across over the Cumberland River in midtown Nashville, Tenn.
. On any provided day, 17,000 tourists cross this bridge to drive to and also from the busy business district of one of the most exciting cities in the nation. The bridge was constructed in 2004 as a long lasting memorial to the experts that fought in the Korean Battle.
James Markham of Mount Juliet, Tenn., was just one of those experts.
On Friday early morning, the 90-year-old American Myriad member went across the bridge in a speed auto driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and also four-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dario Franchitti.
Prior to his lap, Markham invested half an hour speaking with his preferred race driver, Jimmie Johnson, that drives the No. 48 American Legion Honda as an NTT INDYCAR COLLECTION rookie after winning a record-tying seven NASCAR Mug Series champions.
“I’m very honored to be component of the opening events for this race,” Markham claimed. “Jimmie is my preferred chauffeur, and that was actually terrific. I have actually always enjoyed it to see him on the top.
“Getting in that Rate Auto was fantastic. I reviewed that bridge at 120 miles a hr. Just think about these individuals in the race cars and trucks looking at that bridge at 200 miles an hour. They are actually going to be carrying on. This track has some really sharp turns on the training course. It’s mosting likely to be fairly a program.”
Markham went into the Air Force in 1951 and was based at Tachikawa Air Base Japan from August 1951 to January 1953 prior to going back to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.
His responsibilities were to support army movement utilizing a C-54 airplane in and out of Korea.
Markham has actually belonged to the American Legion for 66 years and has offered in several positions to include department leader from 1992 to 1993 and Tennessee’s National Executive Committeeman from 2000 to 2002. He is a member of American Legion Blog Post 88 in Donelson, Tenn.
“I go there a couple of times a week to have lunch and also whatever, as well as I obtained up on Wednesday as well as made the news that I was mosting likely to go to the race and be recognized as an Oriental War professional,” Markham stated. “I really feel recognized. I value anybody that appreciate the professionals. They are the ones we owe our flexibility to.”
During active service, Markham was lucky to miss out on the calamity that struck Tachikawa in June 1953 when a UNITED STATE Flying Force C-124 Globemaster II transport experienced an engine failure on takeoff, crashing quickly after. The accident claimed the lives of 129 individuals and also was the most dangerous air catastrophe in history at the time.
Markham left active duty and signed up with the Air Force Get for five years.
“I signed up with The American Legion after that as well as I enjoy my fellowship with various other Legion members,” Markham said. “That is among the important points of The American Legion is the sociability of other professionals because they understand you as well as you comprehend them. They are the ones that recognize what it was like to be in the service, which is important later in life.
“It’s awful that numerous veterans are devoting suicide and also I think it is essential that The American Myriad has this program to aid stop that. As Well As having Jimmie Johnson as a spokesperson, that’s promotion for brand-new participants, as well as we require it.”
The American Myriad member utilized to go to stock auto races at the Nashville Fairgrounds and also has actually been to races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He believes the Nashville homeowners will require to the much various type of racing in the NTT INDYCAR COLLECTION, since it is competing on the roads of Music City.
Markham has actually been to the Indianapolis Electric motor Speedway on lots of events for Indianapolis 500 time trials however has actually never ever been to the track on race day. He strongly bears in mind enjoying Parnelli Jones drive the STP Generator on pole day in 1967.
“He would be around the initial turn prior to you listened to the wind sound,” Markham remembered. “That’s all you listened to. I went back a few years ago as well as saw that cars and truck in the gallery at the Indianapolis Electric Motor Speedway. I delighted in seeing that car again.”
Johnson has actually enjoyed his duty in his initial year standing for The American Legion as well as getting to know most of the participants. Friday early morning, he met Markham and appreciated his time sharing stories.
“I consulted with Jim, and he sure does not look 90,” Johnson said. “To have his personal appeal, health and wellness, his perspective … I had a great time, as well as we had a bunch of laughs. He’s an excellent male.”
Johnson has learned a lot concerning military experts, despite the fact that he has never ever offered. “I have a crazy kind of work myself, as well as there is a respect that I instantaneously have for what they do, and also I think it’s the same when they see me driving a race vehicle,” he said. “That threat aspect that comes from both occupations is a shared respect.
“It’s a big honor standing for The Legion. Everyone I have actually met from The American Myriad has been first class, on top of the reality they offered our country. We are attempting to raise the awareness of numerous vital causes as well as part of a team that knows the value to recognize those that served. It has been a terrific association to me. It has actually opened my eyes much more to the magnum opus that The American Legion does.”