One week off of flogging my own work for this commercial announcement.
Two days ago, Americans and those around the world commemorated the 71st anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Normandy, otherwise known as D-Day. One young sailor who participated in that invasion, a gunner's mate on the USS Bayfield, was named Lawrence Peter Berra.
Later a Hall of Fame catcher, coach and manager of the New York Yankees, a manager of the Mets and a coach on the Houston Astros, Yogi Berra carved out a remarkable career in sports. He also established a scholarship at Columbia University that still exists 50 years later.
Yogi became incredibly popular as a homegrown philosopher, although he himself admits that "I didn't really say all the things I said." Some of those Yogi-isms were indeed written by public relations agents but they were working with the personality of the man himself. Yogi has become much more than a baseball figure; he is known worldwide by people who have no interest in the game.
But he's much more than that. Having established the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on the campus of Montclair State University in New Jersey (where Josh and I took the accompanying photograph), Yogi--because it is disrespectful to call him anything else--has become a strong advocate of education. He is a staunch supporter of the U.S. military and an ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organization promoting LGBT rights in sports.
He is a remarkable man and, at 90, still serves as an example of how to do things right.
There is a petition online to urge President Obama to award Yogi the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his service and his remarkable life. I am a lifelong unapologetic Yankee fan who never saw the man play, although I did once sell him a pretzel. So I've signed already. But even those who detest the team (and I understand that on some occasions) should see the wisdom in signing that petition.
As of 11:25 p.m. Monday, the petition is 5000 signatures OVER the necessary 100,000, so thanks to everyone who helped and okay, Yogi! Hope we hear good news soon!
The man is a national treasure. No joke. Let's acknowledge that formally. Sign the petition.