~ photo borrowed from Mr. Cliburn's website ~And in a world gone made with people jockeying and vieing for attention, no matter the cost, there are bit of news that are worthy. A gentleman who made a dramatic and positive difference in this frosty ole world is no longer with us.
Mr. Harvey Lavan Van Cliburn passed away yesterday at age 78. He won the first international Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 in Moscow when he was only 23 and won only six months after the Soviet's launch of Sputnik 1 which embarrassed the US and pushed us into the space age. Mr. Van Cliburn's triumph helped with cold war conditions between the USA and the USSR and launched his rock star status around the world. This "Texan Who Conquered Russia" returned to a first ever New York ticker-tape parade for a classical musician.
Supposedly Premier Nikita Khrushchev gave permission for Mr. Van Cliburn to receive the award; he was a foreigner winning an award named for a Russian. "Is Cliburn the best? Then give him first prize." This would be the same Khrushchev who, in the 1960's, pulled his shoe off his foot, beat the table with it, or so says "Viktor Sukhodrev, Khrushchev's brilliant interpreter, remembers that his boss pounded the UN desk so hard with his fists that his watch stopped, at which point, irritated by the fact that some "capitalist lackey" had in effect broken a good watch, Khrushchev took off his shoe and began banging."
I well remember Mom and Daddy watching the news and being aghast at such behavior and from a Russian who wasn't all that friendly to the USA. And, if memory serves me correctly, this is the same Khrushchev who said, "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man."
But, I digress. Mr. Van Cliburn made his last public appearance in September, in Fort Worth, at the 50th anniversary of the piano competition named for him. In 2003, he was presented the Presidential Medal of Honor by President Bush. The next year, 2004, he was presented the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Van Cliburn, you, sir, were extraordinarily talented and a gentleman who encouraged thousands. Your talent was a gift from God and you served Him well; you're already missed.
Oh, those mad folks referred to at the beginning? The Texas "teacher", and I use the word loosely, who made her female students dress in burqa's and call Muslim terrorists "freedom fighters". She was supposed to be teaching geography but strayed into pro-Muslim territory and needs to be taken to the wood shed. It's insane to think Christian children cannot pray in school but this "teacher" forces her students to pander to her wants and wishes in support of terrorists. Hellllloooo!? Remember 9/11? Or, did that not take place, like the Holocaust? As George Santayan said, "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it."
There are only two ways to live life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein ~
Today's Miracles ~ the gift and talent of Mr. Van Cliburn ~