Monday, January 26, 2015

"American Sniper" Strikes A Deep, Emotional Chord In Audiences Across The U.S.

    I should have known that something was in the air when I saw a train crossing the tracks at Dishman Lane in Bowling Green late Friday evening carrying U.S. military tanks, Humvees and Jeeps painted with that very familiar faint yellow which is the camouflage for combat in a Middle Eastern desert.
    I didn't know it at the time, but I was in for a big surprise this weekend. I assume the train was transporting equipment from Fort Knox to Fort Campbell, two Army bases,  which are both located in the State of Kentucky. Recently, I've heard the news that the U.S. government is downsizing our military and reducing the amount of man power and equipment used in operations across the globe. I know that our Kentucky politicians are concerned and many Kentucky citizens are also concerned. Both bases will be greatly reduced in many ways effecting our state's economy.  Mainly, I am concerned about America's safety and security against the War On Terrorism. With all the reduction in the troops, I feel that this make us more vulnerable to the enemy a.k.a. "ISIS."
      However, the high point and surprise of my weekend was how great of a movie that "American Sniper" was starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood. It's was the highest grossing non-big budget films movies of all time during its first two weekends. Even my wife, Patty, wanted to see it. We arrived at the theater about 15 minutes early even before the previews started and the movie was almost sold out. And it was the first movie showing of the day.  For me when I walked out the theater after the movie was over, I felt like I had been hit hard in the chest. The movie is such a deep, emotional movie for all true, patriot Americans especially if you have family members who are veterans and who fought in combat. I could barely hold my tears back. Wow. There was total silence and not a dry eye in that theater when everyone walked out of there. My heart was full yesterday afternoon after the movie. But I think all Americans can relate to this movie and the incredible bravery of Navy Seal Chris Kyle and his life story especially if you know someone who has returned home from combat and has experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Chris served four tours of duty in Iraq, he had the highest number of sniper kills (160) in U.S. military history. He earned two Sliver Stars and five Bronze Stars Medals before he was killed on a firing range at home in Texas while trying to help another solider with PTSD.  I also think all Americans can relate to the 911 scenes and the War on Terrorism. My father was a World War II and Korean War veteran and experienced PTSD or "shell shock" as it was known back in those days. Psychiatrists and psychologists really did not know much about the condition until recently.  Also, the general public is starting to understand and learn more about it too.  Nevertheless, this movie has struck a deep chord in my life and I will be forever grateful for Chris's service to our country. I also know that the family too suffers when soldiers returns home because they are still fighting the war in their minds. My dad did and my mom says he was never the same when he came home. Go see the movie and then thank a veteran and their family for the service and sacrifices in which they have made in order to protect America from the evils of terrorism.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Mid-South Coliseum In Memphis, Tenn., Has Its Place In Rock & Roll History And It Should Be Saved

   
The 1970's in the American South was in tatters after the civil rights movement with unrest that had blazed the streets of Memphis, Tenn., and other cities across the South in the late 1960's.  With the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., at the Loraine Hotel in downtown Memphis in April of 1968, the city was struggling to get back on its feet after the riots that rocked the streets that stood next to the "Mighty Mississippi River."
     Also, the Vietnam War was still riveting the landscape with America's young soldiers being slaughtered on foreign soil and then later sent home in body bags and makeshift coffins tearing families apart as well as the drug culture seeping into mainstream of the country's veins.
     And with the "Summer of Love" in 1967 during the "Golden Age of Rock & Roll" which had come and gone in San Francisco and the massive rock concert in Woodstock, N.Y., that made history in 1969, Memphis was slowing but surely finding its way to become a world-famous city for "Arena Rock" even before the death of Elvis Presley, the "King of Rock & Roll" in 1977.  However, there was a light of hope in the form of entertainment for Memphis that shined a beacon of  light during turmoil years of the late 1960's and during the reconstruction years of the 1970's.  And that light was the "The Mid-South Coliseum" and tens of thousands of people from Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas flocked to shows, rock concerts, sporting events and graduations at this historic, iconic arena.
     Also, the Mid-South Coliseum is a place where the ghosts of the Mississippi delta blues men would meet on any given night that there was a rock concert taking place.  The roots of rock and roll all began about 60 miles south of Memphis on that famous Highway 61 in North Mississippi just outside the little shanty town of Clarksdale, Miss., where former sharecropper Robert Johnson made a pact with the devil in order for him to become a famous blues man and guitarist and singer from the Mississippi delta.  Unfortunately, Robert Johnson died at the young age of 27 years-old.  From Elvis to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin to Kiss and Van Halen to ZZ Top including hundreds of more rock bands who have performed at The Mid-South Coliseum, this former rock and roll venue has earned it's place in history and it should be saved from the wrecking ball.

                           Some Historical Facts About The Mid-South Coliseum

*The Mid-South Coliseum was also known as the "The Entertainment Capital Of The Mid-South" which is located at 996 Early Maxwell Blvd., at the former Mid-South Fairgrounds and the Liberty Bowl Stadium with a seating capacity of 11,555.  At one time, it was fully air-conditioned with a paved parking lot for 3,000 vehicles.

* The building was built as a sports and concert venue in 1963 and now listed with the United States National Register of Historic Places.

*The Mid-South Coliseum was home to the University of Memphis Tigers basketball team before they booked for the Pyramid which opened in 1991.

*The Mid-South Coliseum was one of the few stops on the Beatles' final American tour. The Aug. 19, 1966 concert is infamously known as "The firecracker Concert" in which a concertgoer set off a firecracker or "cherry bomb" while the Beatles were performing on stage.  The Beatles had flown into the city for two shows and Memphis was their eight stop along their North American tour.  John Lennon's misquoted remarks earlier in the year about the current state of Christianity had caused some problems especially in the Southern states.  There were protests, record burnings organized by Christian radio stations and even death threats including a televised death threat against the Beatles from a local Memphis Klu Klux Klansman.  While there were no problems with the afternoon concert, nerves were shattered when some someone threw the firecracker or cherry bomb on stage during the evening concert.  Apparently,  concertgoers thought the noise sounded like a gunshot during their performance.  Everyone who heard it was shocked.

*The Mid-South Coliseum was also a popular venue for professional wrestling and the home base for the United States Wrestling Association and Jerry "The King" Lawler headlining numerous sold-out shows at this historic facility.


                    Help Save The Mid-South Coliseum From The Wrecking Ball

    Currently, there are plans for the City of Memphis and Shelby County to raze the historic, iconic The-Mid Coliseum in order to build to some new developments.  In order to keep up on the latest news of what's happening with the MSC, please "Like" the "Save The Mid-South Coliseum" Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/savemidsoucol/