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Old 02-25-2001, 12:30 AM   #1
tailgatechef
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On February 18th, 2001, while racing for fame and fortune, Dale Earnhardt died in the last lap of the Daytona 500. It was surely a tragedy for his family, friends and fans. He was 49 years old with grown children, one, which was in the race. I am new to the NASCAR culture so much of what I know has come from the newspaper and TV. He was a winner and earned everything he had.

This included more than "$41 million in winnings and ten times that from endorsements and souvenir sales". He had a beautiful home and a private jet. He drove the most sophisticated cars allowed and every part was inspected and replaced as soon as there was any evidence of wear. This is normally fully funded by the car and team sponsors. Today, there is no TV station that does not constantly remind us of his tragic end and the radio already has a song of tribute to this winning driver. Nothing should be taken away from this man, he was a professional and the best in his profession. He was in a very dangerous business but the rewards were great.

Two weeks ago seven U.S. Army soldiers died in a training accident when two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters collided during night maneuvers in Hawaii. The soldiers were all in their twenties, pilots, crew chiefs and infantrymen. Most of them lived in sub-standard housing. If you add their actual duty hours (in the field, deployed) they probably earn something close to minimum wage. The aircraft they were in were between 15 and 20 years old. Many times parts were not available to keep them in good shape due to funding. They were involved in the extremely dangerous business of flying in the Kuhuku mountains at night. It only gets worse when the weather moves in as it did that night. Most times no one is there with a yellow or red flag to slow things down when it gets critical. Their children where mostly toddlers who will lose all memory of who "Daddy" was as they grow up.

They died training to defend our freedom.

I take nothing away from Dale Earnhardt but ask you to perform this simple test. Ask any of your friends if they know who was the NASCAR driver killed on February 18th, 2001. Then ask them if they can name one of the seven soldiers who died in Hawaii two weeks ago. On February 18th, 2001, Dale Earnhardt died driving for fame and glory at the Daytona 500. The nation mourns. Seven soldiers died training to protect our freedom. No one can remember their names and most don't even remember the incident.


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Old 02-25-2001, 10:28 AM   #2
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*bump*
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Old 02-25-2001, 04:50 PM   #3
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Well, usually, the governemnt tries to not make such a big deal about this stuff or it would have been publicized more. That's why people know more about Earnhardt's death.
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Old 02-25-2001, 07:27 PM   #4
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It's partially his own fault for not wearing the neckbrace because, as he said before the race "it's for sissies." Maybe so Dale, but Sissies that live...
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Old 02-25-2001, 07:52 PM   #5
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Its a little cold to say something like that A.D. so lets just keep it on the level.
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Old 02-25-2001, 08:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by iFroggy
Its a little cold to say something like that A.D. so lets just keep it on the level.
"A.D." ???????????
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Old 02-25-2001, 10:08 PM   #7
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Lee... A.D. = After Death...
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Old 02-25-2001, 10:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wedge231
Well, usually, the governemnt tries to not make such a big deal about this stuff or it would have been publicized more. That's why people know more about Earnhardt's death.
I'd have to disagree - are you really saying that if the government had made it all totally known and even held a press conference, it would get as much coverage as Mr. Earnhardt's death?

People's priorities are out of whack.

Need a concrete example? Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died something like one week apart - guess who got a massive television ceremony where millions all over the world watched and cried?

Hint: it wasn't the one who gave her life to the poor. Diana was, I'm sure, a very nice woman. I'm sure Earnhardt was as well, but things like this boild my blood everytime.
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Old 02-25-2001, 10:42 PM   #9
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Yes. You are right. I was just saying that a lot more people knew about Earnhardt's death than those soldiers.
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Old 02-27-2001, 09:21 AM   #10
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Its nice to know that some people appreciate what the lesser knowns do for us (US or Canada). I, personally, didn't even hear about the deaths of those US soldiers. Obviously, our Western Canadian papers didn't even give it a thought!

Dale chose his profession, lived by it, although rashly, and died by it. Those soldiers chose their profession, lived by it, and died with pride, although unnecessarily.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of all, but, the death of seven soldiers in training is the real tragedy. They may have died doing what they chose, or, even loved, to do, but they died for their country's glory, not their own.

Mother Teresa and Diana.

Mother Teresa gave her life to the poor, sick and dying, in the only way she knew how. She will, someday, be cannonized by her Church. Such a person will be remembered in the annals of history.

Princess Diana will be remembered in the same annals of history, but for different reason. 1) She was of royalty. 2) She lived a horrid life after her marriage, the stuff history books are made of. 3) She also did what she could for the poor, sick and dying, in the best way she knew how.

Although they were very different people, from different walks of life, they both did, to the best of their abilities, what they could. They were, indeed, good friends, and tried to ease the suffering of the afflicted, from different levels. One will be in History, a Saint, the other will be in History, a Royal. They both did wonders for the lesser folk, one in ancient travesty, the other in modern day tragedy.

They are both to be remembered in kind.

The seven soldiers were not famous, their names may be forgotten in the years to come, if they are ever even known. But their tragedy will become a part of history, to be studied and remembered by all historians


Dale Earnhardt will be remembered by the sports world, as a race car driver. His name will be forgotten by the masses, in time. He was, afterall, only a wealthy, spoiled, egoistical, sportsman, of sorts.

What is newsworthy in print today, will lose its potency in years to come. What is noteworthy will be remembered, and what is truly important, will never be forgotten.
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Old 02-27-2001, 09:26 AM   #11
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I'm not going to deny that Diana was likely a very generous and kind person - but she's simply not Mother Teresa. I hate to turn this into a contest, but I was almost sickened by how ignored Mother Teresa was in comparison.

Let's face it: it was because she was a royal celebrity, which is a real shame. Being famous gets you anything these days.
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Old 02-27-2001, 10:12 AM   #12
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I agree that Mother Teresa deserved more press than she got. She definitely did more than Diana, but, you know what? She would gladly have given Diana the coverage, and kept herself hidden. That is the beauty of Mother Teresa. A Saint indeed.
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Old 02-27-2001, 05:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by CanFan
Dale Earnhardt will be remembered by the sports world, as a race car driver. His name will be forgotten by the masses, in time. He was, afterall, only a wealthy, spoiled, egoistical, sportsman, of sorts.
Do you really mean that? How do you know he was "spoiled and egotistical"? Yes, he was wealthy, yes, he was famous, but not all rich and famous are spoiled, egotistical jerks. Dale Earnhardt will NEVER, EVER be forgotten by race car and NASCAR fans. He may be forgotten by fans who don't follow the sport, like you said, but Earnhardt made NASCAR the growing and national sport it is today. Let's not forget before his time, NASCAR was not televised on national TV as it today and it was only popular in the south. Now, NASCAR is more popular everyone, largely because of Earnhardt. Calling such a great family man who did nothing but good in his lifetime what you did really angers me, and I'm sure many others, if they read it.

[Edited by M. James on 02-27-2001 at 04:14 PM]
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Old 02-27-2001, 05:17 PM   #14
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I agree that calling him egotistial and spoiled is probably out of line (it may be true - we don't know, so we cannot say that he IS, or that he ISN'T - both are speculative)...however, I think it's also out of line to say he did nothing but good!

Heck, when you say that, you're doing what he did, only in reverse. Both are incorrect representations of someone who has passed - the negative one is given more disdain, however, because people hate to criticize the dead, whether it is merited or ont.
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Old 03-03-2001, 03:44 PM   #15
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Unhappy Dale Earnhardt's Legagcy

He was the reigning superstar of the Winston Cup circuit. He was revered by many and hated by the rest. For Dale Earnhardt there was no holding back, only straight ahead at 200 mph with a left turn mixed in here and there. When all of that ended in a tragic mishap at this year's Daytona 500 it may be that the south's favorite son became the patron saint that will save many racing lives before all is said and done.

When it came to driving fast and making left turns nobody did it better than Dale Earnhardt. But even from his earliest days behind the wheel admirers like Richard Petty thought the “Intimidator” took too many chances. That was just Dale's style. “Rubbin' is racin',” the man behind the gold reflective shades said. If it took a little paint tradin' to get that checkered flag then that was life in the really fast lanes.

Those that know racing aren't sending death threats to Sterling Marlin whose bump was the beginning of the end for Earnhardt at Daytona. They realize that Dale got what he gave in that sequence. Unfortunately it all just ended badly, very badly indeed.

It's debatable as to whether even the much debated HANS safety device could prevent death when colliding with a wall at 180 mph. Such a collision transfers high G-forces directly upon the internal organs of the driver's body and most commonly results in a fractured skull and death. Human brains don't react positively to such inertia. That's what got Earnhardt in the end.

Driver safety is now a hot topic in every NASCAR garage. Many acknowledge that the HANS system is the best safety system currently available but only six drivers used it at Daytona. Talk is floating around about convening an independent task force to study driver safety. Perhaps the great minds inside the crew garages will meet with the NASCAR suites and join forces to put an end to the carnage thinning the ranks of the sport's greatest assets, its drivers.

The Intimidator's legacy may do more good than he could ever have imagined. In death Dale Earnhardt could save the lives of many of his best friends and in the end save the future of his beloved NASCAR.

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