Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day of Remembrance

Taylor Hicks sings "Do I Make You Proud" at the National Memorial Day Parade, Washington, D. C.
Growing up, Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, was a somber time when we visited the graves of our relatives. Along side the little country church, the cemetery had been cleaned, mowed and made ready. Before church on Sunday we went to the graves with a mason jar full of summer flowers from the front yard.

With expansions over the years, the cemetery grew much larger than the church and grounds next to it. And the time came when I had to leave my father and then my mother there to rest on the quiet hillside.

They left me much. My mother taught in the one-room school house just across the road from that church and cemetery where she now rests. My parents believed that God was a real part of our lives right along side hard work. And they made me believe that I could do anything I wanted to work for.

It is ironic that we look back to remember and honor those we have lost in the same space of time that we celebrate the achievements of our young people who are taking us forward.

Last week I attended an eighth grade “promotion.” My young man is off to high school. How cute they all were in their dress clothes with proud parents and grandparents marveling at this milestone when it seemed like only yesterday that they were in a stroller at Disneyland.

And an entire police force turned out for one graduation last week—that of a beautiful young lady graduating from kindergarten. They were standing in for her father.

In the midst of graduation celebrations, our home state lost two first responders last week--a firefighter and a law enforcement officer, the father of that young lady.

Last week spoke poignantly of grief and celebration side by side in our lives. It brought home again rebuilding from the ashes for those who lost so much in the tornados in Oklahoma. And rebuild we do. The Boardwalk on the Jersey shore reopened last week after total devastation of Hurricane Sandy. And thousands finally finished the Boston Marathon.

We rebuild, resolve, and never forget.

After a week that took us all over an emotional landscape, we come together on this Memorial Day to remember those who deserve our full measure of honor as they have given their last full measure of devotion to our country.

“Flags will wave. Bands will march. Floats will glide. Most of all, Americans who died in military service will be honored,” wrote Mary Colurso in Birmingham, AL.

From Washington, D.C., on Monday, the 2013 National Memorial Day Parade, a parade for heroes, will honor our troops who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our precious liberties.

Birmingham native and American Idol, Taylor Hicks, will perform for this day of remembrance:

"I'm honored to be able to perform on such a patriotic and important day for our country,"

“Everyone’s there to honor America and our fallen heroes,” he said. “We’re all there together… It’s about the day of remembrance.”

May we remember and honor all those who have enriched our lives, kept us safe, protected our liberties, and who inspire us for the future…

Fly the American flag for those we love and honor this Memorial Day!

On Monday, Taylor will perform "19" a tribute to an American soldier:

Video "Nineteen" by @Magnoliabreezes.
Mary Colurso of the Birmingham News writes on
"Birmingham's Taylor Hicks to Perform at 2013 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D. C."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Taylor Hicks ~~ His Biggest Fan

She was his biggest fan…and his first.

In his autobiography, Heart Full of Soul, Taylor Hicks recalls his grandmother Jonie and his first musical review.

At a young age and in a desperate desire to have soul music like that of Otis Reddings’ in his life, Taylor had taken an album from his best friend and had played it incessantly. “Try a Little Tenderness” spoke to him like no other.

“The song killed me then just as it kills me now…A few days later, I sang the song for my grandmother Jonie, who was nice enough to at least act suitably impressed. That might have been one of my first good reviews—and maybe the most important, because that was probably the first time I thought of myself as a singer.”

She was there to help when he scraped together a meager sum to record his first indie record, In Your Time. At the time when the 1500 copies were pressed, only a fraction was sold. Today, one of those original copies is a pretty penny.

“Grandma actually had a truly inspired marketing mind. And I like to think I’ve inherited a little of her savvy.”

He tells of her marketing scheme to drop ping pong balls filled with gift certificates for a Birmingham Mall in a flyover. It went much awry when strong winds sent them onto a busy freeway.

“…I respect my grandmother’s ability to dream big. It’s probably from Grandma that I got my desire—and ability—to draw a crowd.” 

She could draw a crowd herself. Fans will remember her attending Taylor’s shows and chatting easily with them. She knew the long road that Taylor had traveled to American Idol victory and shared how proud she was of his successes.

We join all those fondly remembering Miss Joni who passed along to Taylor that ability to dream big and believe in yourself.

God speed, Miss Joni.

May she inspire us all to dream…and to believe.

Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to Taylor and his family during this sad time.

The Taylor Hicks Community

Quotes from: Taylor Hicks, Heart Full of Soul, Random House, New York, 2007.

A Joni Hicks Memorial Fund has been established. Donations may be made to her church, St. Andrew by the Sea, building fund:

***Taylor's shows at Paris Las Vegas have been cancelled until Thursday, May 9th.