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Death Comes In Threes

by Geraldo Rivera | Jan 03, 2007

Hi everybody. Happy New Year. You know, they say death comes in 3's, and over the holiday week, the world witnessed the passing of three leaders who could not have been more different - an accidental president, a sadistic tyrant and the godfather of soul.

On this National Day of Mourning, the President and First Lady, three former Presidents, four former First Ladies, including one who would be president, members of the Supreme Court, the Cabinet and more than 3,000 other dignitaries gathered at Washington's National Cathedral to pay their respects to Betty Ford and to honor her husband - the pleasant and trustworthy man who never expected to hold the nation's highest office, but who steadied the ship of state, at a time when it was battered by war and Watergate...A superb athlete who ironically suffered the slings of comedians who ridiculed his supposed clumsiness...Gerald Ford will be buried tomorrow on the grounds of his museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

But while the 38th President of the United States will be laid to rest with great ceremony, the psycho ex-president of Iraq was secretly buried before dawn this morning not far from his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq...Hung Saturday morning in a death that was more dignified than he deserved, the body of the tyrant whose erratic, racist and reckless rule brought immeasurable suffering to his people, had been flown to his final resting place by a U.S. military chopper, even as crowds of his fellow Sunnis continued to protest his speedy execution, and the taunting the dictator received in his final moments by some of the same Shiites he had tormented during his reign of terror.

And then, there was the death of the godfather of soul, the incomparable James Brown. The memorial at the James Brown arena in Augusta, Georgia for the legendary entertainer who died of heart failure on Christmas morning was supposed to be a solemn affair...but grief turned to celebration, as his friends remembered his greatness. The Reverend Al Sharpton said, "Out of James Brown, soul music became world music and out of that came disco, rap and hip-hop...There wouldn't have been a Michael Jackson, or a Prince, if it wasn't for James Brown, and all of them say that." So true...In a surprise appearance, the usually reclusive, King of pop, Michael Jackson, echoed that sentiment when he showed up to credit the great music man with inspiring him to become the entertainer he is today...with a simple story from his childhood. Jackson said "My mother would wake me no matter what time it was...no matter what I was doing, to watch the television to see the master at work. And when I saw him move I was mesmerized... And right then and there, I knew that's exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."

James Brown. Dead at 73. May he rest in peace.

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