Continuing our series, Jumping in Pools once again would like to shine light upon those who have been forgotten, yet are some of the greatest heroes our nation has ever seen.
A Forgotten Hero:
Joe LouisJoe Louis, or Joseph Louis Barrow, was the heavyweight boxing champion from 1937-1949. That's right folks, 13 years. But this is hardly why Louis was and is a great man. Rather, what he did with his fame and money.
Louis brought boxing back into popularity, instilling characteristics such as hard work and honesty in those who became his fans. He also was a instrumental force in desegregating professional golf.
In 1936, Louis fought Max Schmeling, a German. In this match, Louis was knocked out by Schmeling in the 12th round. The Nazis touted this victory as "proof" of "Aryan superiority," and Schmeling became a hero in Germany overnight. A rematch was eventually set for June 22, 1938.
This time, Louis would show what he was made of. Louis trained hard, saying, "I knew I had to get Schmeling good. I had my own personal reasons and the whole damned country was depending on me." And this time around, Louis prevailed, tko-ing Schmeling out in the first round, and proving that the Nazis were full of it.
The Champ was also a giving man, many times taking only a single dollar from a winning purse and giving the rest to charity. Unfortunately, the government taxed his winnings regardless, pushing him the brink of bankruptcy.
Yet his charitable side never died. To help the United States during World War II, Louis fought several charity bouts to raise money for the war effort. Though he once again gave this money to charity, the IRS taxed it as well.
Then the Champ went one step further: he joined the war effort itself. He was placed in a cavalry unit, but was used by the army as a moral-booster; Louis boxed around the world to raise the troops' spirit.
I'd like to end the great Joe Louis's story on a high note, so I will quickly summarize what happened after the War and after his career was over: Unfortunately, the IRS chased Louis around for taxes, claiming he owed them, even though he had donated much of it. It was difficult, and led to much hardship for Louis.
But that is what the United States does to many of its greatest heroes. We demand more when they have already given so much. We ask, they give, we demand, and they heed until they can't anymore. Then we brush them off like like old news.
That is why the Great Joe Louis, Heavyweight Champion of the World is a Forgotten Hero.
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