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Take A Knee

TAKE A KNEE

“Take a little trip to Valley Forge in January. If you don’t know where that is, just Google it from the sidelines. Hold a musket ball in your fingers and imagine it piercing your flesh and breaking a bone or two. There won’t be a doctor or trainer to assist you until after the battle, so just wait your turn. Take your cleats and socks off to get a real experience. Then take a knee.

Then, take one at the beach in Normandy where man after American man stormed the beach, even as the one in front of him was shot to pieces…the very sea stained with American blood. The only blockers most had were the dead bodies in front of them, riddled with bullets from enemy fire.

Take a knee in the sweat soaked jungles of Vietnam. from Khe San to Saigon… Anywhere will do. REAL Americans died in all those jungles. There was no playbook that told them what was next, but they knew what flag they represented. When they came home, they were protested as well..and spit on for reasons only cowards know.

Take another knee in the blood drenched sands of Fallujah in 110 degree heat… Wear your Kevlar helmet and battle dress… Your number won’t be printed on it unless your number is up! You’ll need to stay hydrated but there won’t be anyone to squirt Gatorade into your mouth. You’re on your own.

There’s a lot of places to take a knee. Real Americans have given their lives all over the world. When you use the banner under which they fought as a source for your displeasure, you dishonor the memories of those who bled for the very freedoms you have. That’s what the red stripes mean. It represents the blood of those who spilled a sea of it defending your liberty.

While you’re on your knee, pray for those that came before you, not on a manicured lawn striped and printed with numbers to announce every inch of ground taken…but on nameless hills and bloodied beaches and sweltering forests and bitter cold mountains…every inch marked by an American life lost serving that flag you protest.

No cheerleaders, no announcers, no coaches, no fans…just American men and women…delivering the real fight against those who chose to harm us…blazing a path so you would have ‘the right to take a knee.’

You haven’t an inkling what it took to get you where you are; but your ‘protest’ is duly noted. Not only is it disgraceful to a nation of real heroes, it serves the purpose of pointing to your ingratitude for those who chose to defend you under that banner that will still wave long after your jersey is issued to another…

If you really feel the need to take a knee, come with me to church on Sunday and we’ll both kneel before Almighty God. We’ll thank Him for preserving this country for as long as He has. We’ll beg forgiveness for our ingratitude for all He has provided us. We’ll appeal to Him for understanding and wisdom. We’ll pray for liberty and justice for all…because He is the one who provides those things.

And there will be no protest. There will only be gratitude for His provision and a plea for His continued grace and mercy on the land of the free and the home of the brave It goes like this…”

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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George Foreman Talks Muhammad Ali – & Being So Much More Than A Fighter

On the anniversary of the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ this interview takes us back to the respect that George Foreman held for Muhammad Ali. His words so sincerely expressed in this interview done for Ali’s birthday 4 years ago. A true testament that boxing is a gentleman’s sport and we are ever so thankful for those that have brought class and inspiration to the ring.

I remember I was preaching on the street one night, many years ago. I’d gained pounds, cut off all my hair; no one recognised me, I was just a crazy man on the street corner. So I started to say, “Yes, this is George Foreman. I was the heavyweight world champion,” but people kept walking. Then I said, “I fought Muhammad Ali,” and they stopped. Right then I realised that this guy was helping me carry my message, that he was a real blessing — not because he beat me, but because he was in my life at all.

Ali and I spent so many years in opposite camps, then, all of a sudden, 32 years ago, we realised there was only ever one camp. Boy, we missed a lot of precious years, but for 32 years now we’ve been closer than white on rice.

He hasn’t changed. I was talking with him by way of texting recently. I texted a photograph of my new grandbaby and he texted back saying, “She looks just like you!” And the next day I had two photographs of his new grandbabies. I sent him one photograph and he had to out-do me. That’s Muhammad Ali.

If you put Ali in boxing, you won’t get what he really was. The life he lived outside of the ring, what he had to say, the bravery he had, made him what he was: a prophet, a hero, a revolutionary — much more than a boxer. It really brings him down to rate him as a boxer. He only did boxing to run his mouth. Whatever message he was destined to get across, he used boxing to do it. I mean, he could do the shuffle and occasionally throw a good jab, even get a few knockouts, but that doesn’t put him in boxing. Forget about boxing, he’s been a gift to the world.

When I was young, Ali was the first athlete that you would turn on the television to see. He called himself pretty — and he was a handsome boy — and he could do tricks with his feet. He’d tell jokes, make people laugh; you couldn’t miss it. If you didn’t love him, you must have been jealous, which is the same thing as loving him. If I could have recorded him, I would have listened to him 24/7.

I was over-confident when I fought him. I’d gone through fighters who’d beaten him, such as Joe Frazier and Kenny Norton. All I thought was, “Should I be merciful or not?” I thought he was just one more knockout victim until, about the seventh round, I hit him hard to the jaw and he held me and whispered in my ear: “That all you got, George?” I realised that this ain’t what I thought it was.

I’d never lost before. I was so high with this power that for years I was in denial; they cheated me, I got tricked, something was wrong. Then, in 1981, a reporter came to my ranch and asked me: “What happened in Africa, George?” I had to look him in the eye and say, “I lost. He beat me.” Before that I had nothing but revenge and hate on my mind, but from then on it was clear. I’ll never be able to win that match, so I had to let it go.

What I really regret is, when he got up against the ropes, I kept hitting him on the side of his neck. I hit him hard. I wake up sometimes and wish I’d never done that. Not to say I caused his illness, but I cheated a little bit. If I had to do it all over again, I never would’ve fought him.

I don’t find his illness sad, though, as the guy is a hero. He’s still beautiful to me. You can talk with war veterans and not know they have a wooden leg. What they did makes their illness unnoticeable. A hero is a guy that you get into a corner and you beat him and you beat him and you beat him and, rather than going down, he says to himself, “If I go down, all the people that believe in me will go down with me. I must stand.” And because Ali stood, he got injuries. I don’t feel sorry for him; I feel proud that I even know him.

What makes Muhammad Ali special is that he loves life. He didn’t fall in love with being young and doing the shuffle, he fell in love with life. Right now, he’s probably thinking how he’s going to sneak a dessert past his caretakers. He’s still living. He doesn’t hide.

Remember him lighting the torch at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996? He was saying, “I’d love to do this, thank you.” This guy loves life.

I do believe he’s the greatest, but forget about boxing — give that to Joe Louis, or somebody — I believe he’s one of the greatest men I’ve ever met.

Happy birthday, Muhammad Ali. I love you.

George Foreman, January 2012

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Leon Bridges Makes the Orpheum Bounce

Last night a sold out crowd at the Orpheum Theatre – Vancouver, was bumping to the sweet sounds of Leon Bridges. This old soul born from humble beginnings brings his real deal to the stage. Blending best of the old with the new he keeps the crowd grooving with ‘Smooth Sailin’ – ‘Better Man and then he restores your soul with the ‘River.’

‘Shine he says ‘I wrote a couple of years ago, and when my Mama heard it she said ‘son you sound like a man.’

Leon just makes you feel happy and he told the crowd ‘not to be shy, to get up and enjoy the music and dance.’

When the stars align things happen quickly and a man who honours his Mother has one foot set in the right direction from the very start.

It seems he was meant to shine in the very place he is walking and what makes him so special is that he ‘gets’ that with privilege comes responsibility and Leon wears that suit well.

I am riding this musical journey and I am so happy that you are experiencing it with me.

My greatest wish for him is that he will always hold close the sense of gratitude and respect that he carries within him now.

It’s just the beginning and the world is thirsty for what Leon has to offer.

Take me to your ‘River’ Leon – I wanna go.

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Galadrielle Allman’s – “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father”

By Doug Hall

“He could play rhythm, acoustic, anything you want,”… “He couldn’t read a chart but he had this amazing talent. You hear this all the time but Duane really had it. He’d hear a song one time and you didn’t have to tell him – you play any chord in the song and he would know right where it was.”
-Jimmy Johnson, FAME Studio’s House guitarist & producer of Hour Glass demos.

‘Most slide players are muddy,’… ‘Their playing sounds sour. Duane is one of the very, very few who played clean, sweet and to the note.”
-Jerry Wexler, Producer, Atlantic Records

“I mean I couldn’t understand it…He would do – I really don’t know how to describe it(reference to the guitar notes hit by Allman on slide for “Layla” recording sessions). I loved the fact that he was an improviser… He threw away tradition a lot of the time. You know he was fantastically gifted.”
-Eric Clapton, “Layla” recording sessions

“He was the foremost electric slide guitar player… all the way around.”
– Dickey Betts, founding member and guitarist of The Allman Brother’s Band

“It’s always great to get a glimpse of something in somebody’s formative years, …with Duane Allman, who was here such a short period of time, you see the growth: He was great in 69’, but he was better in 70’ and in 71’ he was way better still, so who knows what 72’ and 73’ and 74’ would have brought…his ability was increasing at an exponential rate.”… “He was a huge influence on me.”
-Warren Haynes – founder of the band Government Mule, and guitarist/ singer of The Allman Brother’s Band since 1989.

These are some of the first hand acknowledgements that have come to describe Duane Allman, his guitar playing, his musicianship, and finding few other peers (i.e. Hendrix, Clapton, Page) – a definition in itself of being exceptional. Following in parallel, is the consideration of the explosive creativity signified by the 1960’s and early 1970’s. A chapter that closes a particularly crowded field of great musicians, bands and notably – lead guitarists – of this same time period. And yet Duane Allman still stands tall on a short list. But in a life tragically cut short in 1971, at the ascending rise of his star, with the accompanying frantic pace of performances and demands for his time – to record, to sit-in on a session, to collaborate with a musician in NYC, after finishing a concert in Atlanta the night before, or finding a moment to just to jam with a friend, and then off to catch the next flight to a gig, and on and on – How do we ever come to know him? – without reflection, or a chance to peek backwards.

a duane allman

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