With the death of Whitney Houston most will recall her singing of the song “I Will Always Love You” from the movie The Bodyguard. For me I will always remember her passionate singing of the Star Spangled Banner before Super Bowl Twenty Five.
Just ten days prior to the Super Bowl a coalition force made up of thirty four nations began to wage a war code named Operation Desert Storm against Iraq who had invaded their neighbor Kuwait.
The video below is truly a show of patriotism at it’s finest with Ms Houston’s stirring version of the song making her the only artist to turn the National Anthem into a hit single when it reached number 20 on the Billboard Top 100. The single was also reissued shortly after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center when the song hit number 6 on the charts.
The death of Whitney Houston is horrible news for her family, her friends, and her fans. At this point, it’s not clear exactly what caused Houston’s death, although there seems to be rampant speculation about the surrounding circumstances.
What seems to be clear is that for years Houston battled substance abuse issues. As a result, she never reached the heights that were anticipated for someone with her stunning voice, her exquisite phrasing and timing, and her transfixing stage presence.
The social costs of substance abuse are staggering. Those costs are borne, most directly and most brutally, by the families of those who are in the grips of addiction. Those families must deal with the lying, the heartbreak, the anger, and the pain that the addiction of a family member inevitably brings.
At times, when a well-known figure falls prey to addiction, the pool of people affected becomes broader, and society as a whole is deprived of the music, or artwork, or performances that the addict might have delivered. The failure of gifted individuals to realize the full potential of their enormous talents is a tragic loss for the world — but we should never forget that the most profound loss will be felt by the families.