Thank you for attending The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rededication Event on September 2, 2009. You were very gracious while multiple speakers explained why our mountains are better than Colorado’s mountains. We didn’t mean it disrespectfully. We are just extremely proud of our mountains. More than proud, we are very protective of them. Many of us see a lot of similarities between the current administration and FDR’s administration and that makes us hopeful that, for at least a little while longer, our National Parks will be safe from those who wish to privatize them.
When you pronounced azaleas, ahz-ah-lay, there were quite a few giggles in the audience. Sorry about that. We know our pronunciations are sometimes awkward. I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who never considered pronouncing it any way other than ah-zayl-yuh. I hope you understand that we were laughing at ourselves as much as the way the word looks to non-southerners. I do hope, with all sincerity, that the next time you are visiting any of the Southern states, you ask to see an azalea. They are truly beautiful and one of the many reasons why your job is so important. I think you can justify taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to “stop and smell the azaleas” as a part of your job duties. As job duties go, it probably ranks way above hearing political speeches and just below meeting Dolly Parton.
Thank you for all that you do,