I am a retired white male who proudly served my country in the USAF during the Viet Nam crisis in the late ‘60’s. I was stationed stateside in the middle of South Carolina, in the heart of the South that was ripe with anti-war sentiment and very extreme prejudicial racism.
An avid sports junkie who loved baseball, I followed the Atlanta Braves since the local TV station broadcast their games. I really got to see Henry Aaron play a lot of baseball in those four years and came to appreciate his style of play and experienced his pain of racism through the media. As he drew closer to the hallowed home run record of Babe Ruth I was aghast at the taunts, jeers and death threats leveled his way by staunch white racists.
After an honorable discharge I went home to Cleveland, Ohio, to continue with my life, but was still stung reading the hateful things being said about Henry. I composed a letter of support to him, mailed it and went about my life. To my amazement, he wrote back and said that he was uplifted by my words of encouragement and included an autographed photo. Both sit proudly in a frame hanging on my wall in my house.
I am honored to have made a small contribution in his life to bring him some peace of mind amid a turbulent time. RIP Henry Aaron!