Once I watched Henry Aaron play baseball, I knew I used to be watching somebody particular. It wasn’t nearly watching a gifted athlete grasp his craft on the best way to a Corridor of Fame profession as one of many biggest to ever play the sport. It was that every time Henry Aaron rounded the bases, he wasn’t simply chasing a report, he was serving to us chase a greater model of ourselves.
With braveness and dignity, he eclipsed essentially the most hallowed report in sports activities whereas absorbing vengeance that will have damaged most individuals. However he was unbreakable. He stemmed the vicious drive of white supremacy, in demise threats, hate mail, and in hardened hearts. What I deeply admired and revered about him is that every time he rounded these bases — an astonishing 755 journeys residence — he melted away increasingly of the ice of bigotry to indicate that we will be higher as a folks and as a nation.
Henry Aaron turned, within the phrases of President Carter, “the first Black man for whom white fans in the South cheered.” It was not solely his bat, however his character that received over these hearts and minds. For generations of athletes and civil rights advocates who adopted, he confirmed methods to be proud and be unafraid to face up for what is correct and simply.
Jill and I rely ourselves among the many many hundreds of thousands of Individuals who’re grateful for the recollections he gave us and our households. As a nation, we’ll nonetheless chase the higher model of ourselves that he set for us. As we do, we mourn his passing and ship our prayers to his beloved Billye, their youngsters and grandchildren, and your entire Aaron household.
God bless, Henry “Hank” Aaron, an American hero.