Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stand For Stan

Stan Musial is a former baseball player and a St. Louis icon. He played with the St. Louis Cardinals his entire career (from 1941 to 1963, with a one-year stint in the  Navy in 1945), and was selected for the All-Star team 24 times. He was also selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.

"Stan The Man" turns 90 this year, and the Cardinals have started a campaign to convince Barack Obama to award him America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifetime achievements.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, is awarded to Americans who make "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States or to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." It may be awarded for singular acts of momentous import, it is generally offered only for a lifetime of service or at the conclusion of a distinguished career.  The recipients come from every discipline: science, arts, education, business, medicine, religion, media, politics and government, and sports. Seven baseball players and 11 other sports figures have received the award, including Joe DiMaggio (1977), Jackie Robinson (1984), Muhammad Ali (2005), and Arnold Palmer (2004).

According to the Cardinals Website, there are several ways to show your support for the campaign and take a "Stand for Stan":
  • Write a letter to President Obama 
  • Sign a petition
  • Follow the campaign on Twitter, or
  • Post your photo with Flat Stan the Man
I decided it would be fun for Tony and me to take a picture with a Flat Stan.  If you're not familiar with it, Flat Stanley is a children's book by Jeff Brown which features Stanley Lambchop, a boy who becomes completely flat in an accident.  He uses his flatness to his advantage, and has many adventures. In 1995 the Flat Stanley Project was started by Dale Hubert. Schoolchildren read the book, make their own Flat Stanley, document in a journal where he has gone with them, then mail the Stanley and journal to others and ask them to do the same.  Flat Stan the Man, a caricature of Musial, wearing the Medal of Freedom, is about documenting Stan's "adventures", except there's no writing involved.   You take a photo with Flat Stan and post it on the Cardinals Website.

I had our Stan ready to go yesterday, but the camera wasn't; I had to recharge the batteries.  This afternoon Tony and I went out on the deck, pulled two chairs together, and put the camera on the deck railing.  Tony held our Stan while I set the camera's auto timer.  I hurried back to my seat and got into position for the picture.  The first time didn't work, so I adjusted the angle of the camera and tried again.  Success! I uploaded the picture, which showed up on the Website about 20 minutes later.  There were already dozens of pictures, and I suspect there will be a lot more before the campaign's over.

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