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Monday, February 25, 2008

This is more important than our local mess...

The Store Behind 'Before You Go'

In the early morning hours of a summer evening in 2002, Dr. Sam Bierstock was returning from a cross-country trip.

Better known as 'Dr. Sam' to millions of people, the doctor had just performed an engagement with his band, 'Dr. Sam & the Managed Care Blues Band ®'. A professional musician and entertainer as well as a physician, Dr. Sam had been entertaining and making political commentary using satire, great music and humor since 1996 when he formed 'Dr. Sam and The Managed Care Blues Band' On this particular evening, Dr. Sam was tired. He had parted with his band members and was headed home from a cross-country gig that had returned him to his home base in Florida at 1 AM. After retrieving his car from the parking lot, he handed his parking ticket to the elderly man in the collection booth. Retrieving his change, Dr. Sam wished the attendant a good evening. He w as somewhat startled when he received an unexpected angry and resentful reply. ' I took two bullets for this country,' the attendant responded, 'and look what I am doing now!'

Uncertain as to how to respond initially, Dr. Sam pocketed his change, rolled up his window and began to drive off. The time that it took to drive ten or fifteen feet from the toll booth was enough for him to digest what had just happened. With no one behind him, Dr. Sam backed up, rolled down his window and addressed the elderly attendant. 'Sir', he said, ' I have had a wonderful life in this country, and I want to thank you sincerely for what you did to preserve our way of life in this country.' Saying nothing in response, the man began to cry.

As he drove home in those early morning hours, Dr. Sam was haunted by what had just occurred. As a 'Baby Boomer' his early years of life were within a decade of the end of the Second World War. His step-father had been wounded in Italy, and other family members had served in the armed forces. Distant relatives had perished in the holocaust. What would have happened, he thought, if we had lost World War Two to Hitler and his Nazi henchmen? He realized that not only would our entire way of life and system of freedom been destroyed, his parents and grandparent would have been killed, he would never have been born and his children would not exist. The same fate would have been met by virtually all other members of minorities, many religious groups, and the disabled. The personal freedoms that we take so much for granted would have disappeared. 'How', he thought, 'do you thank someone enough for the existence of your children, and for all of the freedoms and opportunities that we all take so much for granted?'

The next morning, Dr. Sam wrote the lyrics to 'Before You Go'. His band had a new keyboard player, John Melnick. Dr. Sam casually mentioned to John that he had been struggling w ith putting some lyrics to music and couldn't seem to find the right fit. 'Let me take a shot at it,' john offered. The result was 'Before You Go' Time continued to pass as they tried to get it recorded by a well known singer. Acutely aware that the veterans of World War Two were being lost to age and time at a rate of 1,000 to 2,000 per day, they made the decision to release their recording for free listening on the Internet, in the hope that the message would be spread by those who heard their tune and forwarded it on to others. To enhance the impact of the song, Dr. Sam created a visual presentation to accompany the display of his lyrics, attempting to include as many of the branches of service of the armed forces, the allies, both sexes, and as many ethnic groups as possible in order to fortify a recognition of all who had done so much to preserve our way of life - and our very lives. Within one week, 'Before You Go' was being downloaded at a rate o f 400 to 500 downloads per day. By the end of the first six weeks, downloads totaled more than 450,000 peaking at 50,000 per day at one point.

Dr. Sam's and John Melnick's goal from the beginning has been to get this message to every surviving veteran of World War Two while we still have them, to their families and to their descendants. 'Before You Go' has had its own life, thanks to all of you who have helped to spread this message of thanks.

2 Comments:

Blogger Brenda Bowers said...

Indeed, much more important than our own little "local mess". But it has one thing in common that you have missed Meblogin: the same type of people who are fighting to clean up the local mess were the kind of people who insisted that Hitler be stopped. Pacifiers, Ignorers and Peace at Any Pricers are the people who allow tyrants and criminals to rule. BB

March 2, 2008 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger meblogin said...

Hi Brenda,

I hear you and agree as normal...about exactly one half.

I guess I fit in the group that would fight to clean up the Hitler mess and probably would pass on the local topics.

Somewhere is the truth on the local subjects with probably neither camp being 100% correct.

I have not forgotten lunch... :)

March 3, 2008 at 7:09 PM  

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