Tiger Woods spoke on the Sunday before the Inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington during “We Are One,” a celebration for President-elect Barack Obama. While I found Tiger’s words to be very profound, the context in which his speech was e-mailed to me left me cold. Below is the text of his speech, entitled “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
“I grew up in a military family – and my role models in life were my Mom and Dad, Lt. Colonel Earl Woods. My dad was a Special Forces operator and many nights friends would visit our home. They represented every branch of the service, and every rank. In my Dad, and in those guests, I saw first hand the dedication and commitment of those who serve. They come from every walk of life, from every part of our country. Time and again, across generations, they have defended our safety in the dark of night and far from home.
“Each day—and particularly on this historic day—we honor the men and women in uniform who serve our country and protect our freedom. They travel to the dangerous corners of the world, and we must remember that for every person who is in uniform, there are families who wait for them to come home safely.
“I am honored that the military is such an important part, not just of my personal life, but of my professional one as well. The golf tournament we do each year here in Washington is a testament to those unsung heroes. I am the son of a man who dedicated his life to his country, family and the military, and I am a better person for it.
“In the summer of 1864, Abraham Lincoln, the man at whose memorial we stand, spoke to the 164th Ohio Regiment and said: ‘I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country.’
“Just as they have stood tall for our country, we must always stand by and support the men and women in uniform and their families.
“Thank you, and it is now my pleasure to introduce the US Naval Glee Club.”
Yes, Tiger’s speech was profound and inspiring. Unfortunately, it was forwarded to me in a quite partisan liberal-bashing e-mail that included these not-so-inspiring words: “You know he was greatly pressured to be there. You know the liberals have been mad at him for a decade for not joining their ranks. You know he didn’t want to be there. So instead of paying homage to Obama, he paid tribute to our soldiers. Not one time did Tiger mention Obama or the inauguration or the new administration. You know, he knew he would disappoint, even anger, many, many liberals.”
Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything partisan in Tiger’s tribute to our Armed Forces. I couldn’t unearth one bit of conservatives being exalted nor a single instance of liberals being detracted. I was unable to understand how “many, many liberals” would have been angered. Needless to say, I felt compelled to respond:
“If there’s one thing that we all can agree upon as both Democrats and Republicans—as Americans—that we must honor the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. If there is one lesson we should take from the Vietnam years, it is this: the members of our Armed Forces serve under the direction of our Commander-In Chief, and their sacrifices are worthy of our respect and honor above all. Never again should our veterans be forgotten by our people or our government.
“Let us also never forget that, no matter what some pundits might say or write, that service to one’s country is neither Democrat nor Republican. Tiger Woods’ words at the Lincoln Memorial are even more meaningful given the lack of any partisan political sentiment in the speech. Democrats and Republicans—liberals and conservatives—have fought, bled, and died fighting for freedom and the values we hold dear. Instead of trying to paint Tiger as a conservative or (God forbid) a liberal, why don’t we instead take his words as they are: a tribute to his father and those who have served their country with honor and distinction? To do otherwise is less than patriotic.”
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Crazy Dave Howell is back, but not for long! Actually, he’s retiring to a trailer in central Florida, where he hopes to shoot vermin and drink bourbon—I mean, arthritis medicine! He is, however, treating his friends in Marathon to one final performance this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Dockside before he’s voted off the island for good. Stop by and say bye bye!