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Hank Aaron Retired

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					THANK YOU FOR THAT INTRODUCTION,
GEORGE (DNR Secretary George Meyer).

IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE HERE IN MILWAUKEE.
AND I’M HAPPY TO CELEBRATE THE OPENING
OF ANOTHER IMPORTANT LINK IN THE STATE
TRAIL SYSTEM AS WE CELEBRATE THE
CENTENNIAL YEAR FOR OUR STATE PARKS.

I’M ALSO HAPPY TO USE THE TRAIL TO HONOR
ONE OF WISCONSIN’S TRUE HEROES: HANK
AARON.

ALL OF OUR STATE PARKS AND TRAILS ARE
REAL WINNERS, BUT THE HANK AARON STATE
TRAIL HAS RECEIVED NATIONAL RECOGNITION.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
AND THE RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY
DEVELOPED A DESIGNATION FOR SPECIAL
TRAILS THAT REPRESENT THE ESSENCE AND
SPIRIT OF EACH OF THE FIFTY STATES.
EACH STATE SUBMITTED SEVERAL
NOMINATIONS.

HOWEVER, THE HANK AARON STATE TRAIL HAS
EARNED THE TITLE OF A MILLENNIUM LEGACY
TRAIL BECAUSE OF ITS RESPECTFUL
CELEBRATION OF THE PAST, ITS CONNECTION
TO THE COMMUNITY, AND ITS FAR-REACHING
VISION FOR THE FUTURE.

I’M SURE THAT WHEN THE JUDGES WERE
DETERMINING WHO WOULD RECEIVE THIS
DESIGNATION, THE NAME HANK AARON DIDN’T
HURT ITS CHANCES EITHER.

WHEN I WAS GROWING UP IN ELROY, MY
FAMILY TOOK ONE VACATION EACH YEAR. WE
DROVE 140 MILES DOWN TO MILWAUKEE TO GO
TO THE STATE FAIR, AND WATCH HANK AARON
PLAY RIGHT FIELD FOR MY BELOVED BRAVES.

I STILL REMEMBER ONE GAME I ATTENDED IN
THE 1950’S WHEN I WAS STILL IN MY TEENS.
THE BRAVES WERE BATTLING TO WIN THE
NATIONAL LEAGUE PENNANT AND PLAYED A
GAME ON A HOT SUMMER DAY IN AUGUST. THE
GAME WENT INTO EXTRA INNINGS.

THE BRAVES MANAGED TO GET A COUPLE OF
MEN ON BASE IN FRONT OF HAMMERIN’ HANK.
AND HANK AARON CAME UP AND RIPPED ONE
INTO THE LEFT FIELD BLEACHERS … AND
PROVIDED A MEMORY THAT LEFT ONE
WISCONSIN TEEN WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE
ALL THE WAY BACK TO ELROY.

HE PROVIDED MANY MORE MEMORIES FOR
COUNTLESS OTHER WISCONSIN YOUNGSTERS.
HANK AARON RETIRED WITH 755 HOME RUNS
AND MORE MAJOR LEAGUE BATTING RECORDS
THAN ANYONE ELSE IN HISTORY.

HE ALSO HOLDS CAREER RECORDS FOR MOST
MOST RUNS BATTED IN AND TOTAL BASES.
HE'S ALSO SECOND IN LIFETIME AT BATS AND
RUNS, THIRD IN GAMES AND HITS, NINTH IN
DOUBLES, 11TH IN SINGLES, AND TIED FOR 14TH
IN YEARS OF SERVICE. HE AND YOUNGER
BROTHER TOMMIE COMBINED FOR 768 HOME
RUNS, THE MOST EVER BY BROTHERS.

AN ALL-STAR IN EVERY SEASON HE PLAYED
EXCEPT HIS FIRST AND LAST, HE HIT BETWEEN
24 AND 45 HOME RUNS FOR 19 STRAIGHT
SEASONS, AVERAGING 33 FROM 1955 THROUGH
1973. HE DROVE IN 100 RUNS 11 TIMES AND
SCORED 100 RUNS 15 TIMES.

HE WON TWO BATTING TITLES AND FOUR GOLD
GLOVES; MOST VALUABLE PLAYER IN 1957,
AND IN 1982 WAS INDUCTED INTO THE
BASEBALL HALL OF FAME.
HIS CONTRIBUTIONS SINCE HIS HIGHLY
SUCCESSFUL BASEBALL CAREER ALSO ARE
“HOME RUNS.”

HE IS A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR WITH
HIS ARBY’S RESTAURANTS AND AUTO
DEALERSHIP AND IS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
OF THE ATLANTA BRAVES.

BUT POSSIBLY HIS MOST ADMIRABLE
ACHIEVEMENT IS AS THE FOUNDER AND
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CHASING A
DREAM FOUNDATION, WHICH PROVIDES
SCHOLARSHIPS TO CHILDREN TO PURSUE
EDUCATIONAL AND VOCATIONAL DREAMS.

HANK AARON IS A SPORTS HERO INDEED, BUT
HE IS ALSO A ROLE MODEL, A HUMANITARIAN,
AND A CHASER OF EVEN BIGGER DREAMS.

IT IS NO SECRET THAT THE PEOPLE OF
MILWAUKEE AND THE ENTIRE STATE OF
WISCONSIN HOLD A DEEP AND ABIDING
AFFECTION FOR HANK AARON.
TODAY WE WOULD LIKE TO SHOW OUR
ADMIRATION BY DEDICATING THIS TRAIL IN
YOUR NAME AND BY UNVEILING THE SIGN
WHICH WILL MARK THE HANK AARON STATE
TRAIL.

(YOU, THE OTHER DIGNATARIES AND MR.
AARON WILL STEP FORWARD TO UNVEIL THE
SIGN. AFTER SIGN UNVEILING, YOU WILL
RETURN TO THE PODIUM.)

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MR. HANK AARON.

				
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posted:9/16/2009
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