An Open Letter to Oprah

Dear Oprah,
I'm not sure you will remember me, but I'm the guy, some years ago, who asked you to spearhead a campaign to build a significant monument to the United States Colored Troops that were in Nashville before and during the Battle of Nashville, in the last leg of the Spring Hill to Nashville Campaign of late 1864. 

I explained the importance of their service to the Union and how they represented the tens of thousands of African-Americans, often the 'contraband of war,' who significantly aided in the eventual Union victory and to who we are today as a nation, only to be erased away from history. 

I felt, then as now, that building a significant monument in Nashville would not only honor their service and right some of the mishandling of history, but could serve as a road sign to the future. 

Well, that didn't seem to work, so here I am back with another idea. 

On December 2, a Basque athlete named Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai, the bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner - the certain winner of the race - mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai's mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the race:

"But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn't have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well."

I know you had high viewer numbers with your interview of Lance Armstrong. Would you consider interviewing Fernández Anaya? Maybe you could bill it as an hour that young people should watch, so that they can have a real hero in sport. 

I promise to watch and I bet I can get a bunch of other folks to watch, too. Like the monument to the USCT, I think it, too, could serve as an important road sign to a better future. 

Sorry to be bothering you, again, but like it says; "To him much given, from him much is required." Thank you for your consideration. 

Robert Hicks