Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gotta love those kids

From Tom Stanton's forward to his Hank Aaron and the Home Run that Changed America.

In the early months of the 1973 baseball season, when reports surfaced about the odious mail souring Hank Aaron's home-run pursuit, something stupendous happened. Tens of thousands of children - from San Antonio, Texas, to Salem, Oregon, from Marshfield, Wisconsin, to Mt. Vernon, New York, and myriad places in between - set out individually to lift Hank Arron's spirits. This earnest, youthful army, raised on Brady Bunch do-good and swayed by the words of Tob 40 philosophers like Bill Withers ("Lean on me . . . I'll help you carry on"), rallied to Aaron's side.

Through the eyes of these children, it seemed a simple morality play, the line dividing right from wrong as sharp and crisp as the one separating fair territory from foul on the ball diamonds of our youths. The solution seemed just as simple: Write a letter. That it occurred to so many of us at once testifies to something universal in the unjaded heart. That we thought our letters alone could eradicate the evil heaped upon our hero affirms our age and naiveté.

I sent my letter that spring, in the twelfth year of my life, decorating the white envelope with red and blue markers, the patriotic colors of the Braves. In summer, a note of thanks came from Atlanta, Georgia, accompanied by a postcard signed, "To Tom. Best wishes. Hank Aaron." Of course, given the quantity of mail, there was no human way for Aaron to have personally answered my letter. But I was convinced he had, and his words endeared him to me. It's not a unique story. That year, Hank Aaron received more mail than anyone but the president.

There is a common adage, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.' - Wonderful seeing children instinctively standing up to evil in its various forms.

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