Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Year End Comments
I begin 2005 slightly behind the power curve after returning from a much needed holiday vacation in the lands of my ancestors. Much celebration was made over the holidays, most of it centered around the off-key singing of carols in a fashion reminiscent of a bunch of drunken thugs - this despite the absence of any alcoholic substance of any kind.
To return to the serious, if only for a moment, I must say I agree whole heartedly with Secretary Powell's assessment of the destruction caused by the Asian Tsunami. It is very hard for me to wrap my brain around the death of so many and the destruction of so much.
That said, I am very proud of my country's response to this tragedy. Americans have opened up their hearts and checkbooks to give relief to the suffering of a people they will most likely never meet. We are a giving people, and this tragedy has brought out the best from America.
The USS Abraham Lincoln Battle Group along with an Amphibious Battle Group have been dispatched to the region. These naval assets, despite their official Battle Group designations, approach the Asian coast at the time of this writing not as a conquering force but one of relief, goodwill, and hope.
And now, dear reader, a question. Could you please name for me a nation or organization with the ability to organize such a relief effort and have the infrastructure, personnel, and expertise to deliver this aid anywhere in the world on little or no notice?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
And finally - Reggie White.
Reggie White died on Sunday, December 26, 2004 of complications resulting from a lung infection known as Sarcoidosis.
I have long admired Reggie White as a football player. He is, in my humble opinion, the best defensive end ever to don the uniform. He lit up the fields first for the Philadelphia Eagles and then for the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday afternoons it was a joy to watch the Minister of Defense as he tore his way through offensive linemen, running backs, and quarterbacks on his way to delivering migraines to offensive coordinators from sea to shining sea. If Reggie was across the ball from you, you'd better find yourself some help.
A lot of help.
I could go on about his qualities as a football player. But I won't. What I admired most about the man was his devotion to his faith. The moniker "Minister of Defense" is not altogether a joke. Reggie was an ordained minister, of what church I forget. It was in this light that he held a prayer service after each game - right on the field. If you were to look out on that field you'd find players from both teams and both sides of the ball gathered in a circle on bended knees with joined hands as Reggie led them in prayer.
Reggie White epitomized that which is largely missing from American pop culture today. He conducted himself with a quiet dignity that drew respect from all with whom he came in contact. As a defensive end he was powerful and ruthless. He'd beat on you all afternoon and then embrace you and pray with you afterward. Today's professional athletes could learn a lot from his example.
Yes, Rod Artest. I'm talking about you.
Godspeed Reggie. Welcome home.
Here endeth the lesson.