Tuesday, June 7, 2016

'The Greatest' & 'The Greatest Generation'

I was filled with a sense of irony yesterday in writing today's editorial on the legacy of Muhammad Ali.

It struck me as one of those quirks provides seemingly on a daily basis.

Here I was writing about 'The Greatest' on the same day we remember one of the essential dates of 'The Greatest Generation.'

Yes, Monday was June 6, the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, when Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, a deadly foray that spelled the beginning of the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.

How big an event was this? Real simple. Those men who stormed the beach saved the world.

At the other end of that spectrum there is Ali, who famously refused induction to the military because of his objection to the war in Vietnam.

For that stance, he was stripped of his heavyweight boxing crown and banned from the ring for three years, what likely would have been the prime of his career.

He returned from exile to win back his crown, lose it again, and, incredulously, win it a third time.

We toss around superlatives relatively loosely in today's world of social media when everyone is striving for the thing Any Warhol promised them - 15 minutes of fame.

Not so for Muhammad Ali.

Nor the soldier who stormed Omaha Beach.

Ali was, simply, "The Greatest."

Those soliders, men like George Anthony of Media, were undoubtedly "The Greatest Generation."

Did they they take different paths? Absolutely.

Is the status of either questioned.

No doubt many will forever hold a grudge against Ali.

Not me.

Nor will I doubt The Greatest Generation.

Let's leave it at that.

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