"FLY" like a butterfly right into "The Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport".
I like the name change for our airport. Bring it on! It has a nice ring to it, and it sends a big message to the world about a world renown figure from our hometown.
I'm fully aware of the baggage Ali brings into anything. There was always a storm of debate that followed him alive, and now still showing it's face nearly three years after his death.
The view of him in his hometown, though, ironically remains the most complicated. A town where a white cop took a young black kid under his wing and introduced him to boxing when Louisville was still segregated. An international career was launched.
People here either really love him or they can't stand it when we even mention his name on the air.
Most of those who do not like the name change of our airport are telling me it's because Ali dodged the draft for the Vietnam war. Some of you still don't like it that he adopted the Muslim faith.
YES! He said and did outrageous things, but later in life, he lived his life like all of us should, uniting people.
After the champ retired from boxing, he turned his life into a direction we should all admire. A humanitarian, preaching peace, understanding and respect for one another.
What more proof do we need of this gift than what we saw on that sun splashed day of his funeral in 2016.
More than 100,000 people lined the procession through the city. People who didn't like Ali turned out, holding hands with others in respect.
Does anyone out there believe in redemption? Second chances? I do.
In his hometown, we SHOULD BE the first ones offering it. Ali would be the first to say..."I am what I am…don't erase history."
But he also knew that people...evolve.
Our city is not the little ol' river city it was in the early days of Cassius Clay and later Ali. Look around your neighborhood. Chances are you are surrounded by people of different races, ethnicity or those from different countries.
Louisville is sending the world a big strong message about diversity and how we view a controversial native son. So I say, Welcome to Muhammad Ali International, you're landing in the proud hometown of The Champ.
I invite your comments. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.