Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Mississippi Hero

I set out for an estate sale last Saturday and as I was driving Highway 49 from Hattiesburg to my destination just below Jackson, I saw a funeral motorcade going the other way towards Hattiesburg. Usually there are one or two motorcycle cops leading these processions, but there had to have been at least six or seven for this one. Another thing I noticed were the vast number of REALLY NICE CARS in the motorcade and I thought to myself, "Hmm, someone pretty important must have died."

Yes, someone pretty important did die--Steve "Air" McNair. The motorcade was on its way from Mt. Olive, MS to Hattiesburg for his funeral at the University of Southern Mississippi . Mt. Olive was Steve's hometown, and this sign has been posted prominently on the Highway 49 roadway for several years. When I got to Mt. Olive, there was the sign, now sadly decorated with notes and balloons and flowers.

Steve McNair wasn't a perfect human being (so who is?) but he was admired and respected and was a role model for many. It was nice to see that another Mississippian, Bret Favre (native son of Kiln, MS--a bump in the road near the Gulf Coast) was at the funeral.

For a state that is often number one only in things like AIDS cases, poverty and illiteracy, Mississippi has produced an incredible wealth of amazing actors, musicians, writers, politicians and sports figures. Rising above adversity is a finely honed art down here in the Magnolia State, and "Air" was an excellent example.

Rest in peace, Mr. McNair.

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