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In my own words…

By Staff
Editor's note: Earlier this week, The Meridian Star asked its readers to let us know what the death of seven-time
Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt meant to them. Here are some of the comments, with more to run in Sunday's edition:
While I was not a huge "fan" of Dale Earnhardt's, I definitely respected the way he could drive a race car. No one can dispute the fact that Dale Earnhardt could drive a race car at 190 mph better than anyone else in racing today could.
When Talladega would come around and we would place bets within the family, everyone would almost automatically want Earnhardt because of his reputation on those tracks and his ability to have "friends" at that track.
Earnhardt was a competitor to the end and he definitely lived life to the edge. If he had his choice, I am sure he died at just the place he would have wanted turn four on the last lap of the Daytona 500
What he was doing in that car at the time of his wreck, we won't really ever know, but it looked as if he was competing with those behind him to save the places of those in front of him his friend and his son. Words of sympathy, money, flowers and hugs will not console Dale Earnhardt Jr. and family right now. We should all pray for the entire Earnhardt family because they have lost much more than his fans have.
Everything happens for a reason, and there is a reason for this tragedy, even if we cannot see it now. When God wanted to start his own NASCAR in Heaven he called upon the best … Dale Earnhardt. He will be greatly missed by anyone and everyone who has ever wanted to drive fast. Thank you in advance for printing this tribute.
Jodi Jones
Never, not once, did it ever cross my mind that Dale Earnhardt would be killed in a race car. He was too good!!!
I've seen Dale put that No. 3 in places no other driver could have. They say he could see the air. I know he could.
I'm a Gordon fan, but I truly admired Dale for the ability he had. Anyone who is a true racing fan had, too. "The Man" was great and racing will be the same without Dale. We will miss you so much Dale.
Judy Chitwood
I met Dale Earnhardt on one occasion. It was March 1994. I went to Jackson and stood in line for three hours to see him. As I got closer in line I saw that they were not letting you spend much time with him.
The week before I met him, they were racing at a short track. He and Rusty were beating on each other the whole race. It was one of them typical Dale and Rusty battles. Well, as I got closer to him, I asked "Mr Earnhardt, Did you have fun this past weekend with Rusty?"
He looked up at me and gave me that typical Earnhardt grin and said, "Was I rubbing paint with
him?" And I said, "Yes sir." He said, "Then I was having all the fun in the world."
By the time I got up to him he allowed me to get my picture with him.
At the time I was not a weekly follower of Dale Earnhardt. But I left that day a BIG Earnhardt fan. He took that much time to speak with me and looked me in the eyes like it was just me and him there alone. That meant a lot.
I began watching racing Davey Allison's rookie year. When he got killed it absolutely hurt me and my family. I can sympathize with all the race fans. It hurts. I guess I am still in shock like the rest of the racing community. I have met Dale Jr. on two occasions and he was super nice. My heart and prayers go out to the Earnhardt family. God speed Mr. Earnhardt!
Jason Dyess
The most memorable moment I have of Dale Earnhardt right now has to be the last lap of this year's Daytona 500 before his tragic accident.
Dale unselfishly held back to let his two cars fight it out amongst themselves to see who was going to be victorious. He had tasted victory at Daytona, and he wanted his two drivers to be able to say the same.
He will truly be missed by all, and NASCAR will never be the same. He will live on in his fans hearts forever.
Mike Moore
Dale Earnhardt's death has come as a mind-blowing shock to me.
At first I didn't believe it and even now it is hard to believe. It is so sad to know that I will never see him race again. He (and Jeff Gordon) have been my favorites for several years and I will deeply miss watching him win and even lose.
It is extremely heart breaking but I think that this is the way he would have wanted to go and I am glad about that part. My prayers go out to all of his fans and his family.
Julianne Alsup
This past Sunday was a day that I will never forget, nor will anybody,especially the fans of NASCAR.
My girlfriend and I went to Mooresville, North Carolina this past Tuesday and paid our respects to the legend, Dale Earnhardt, at his enterprise in that small town. There were a lot of sad people there, as we were.
We signed the sympathy card that the friends of the family had put out at the front of the business. I had a small flower that I had brought up there from Mississippi, to put on the memorial that had been made.
As I was putting it on the gate that surrounds the business, I began to cry, as though I had actually known the man for years. There were many people there, crying, staring, or just standing in silence. It was a very somber day, and everyone that was there seemed in shock.
But as I was telling my girlfriend on our way back home from North Carolina, Dale Earnhardt was a professional race car driver, and he knew the dangers he was facing every time he sat behind the wheel of his race car. The men who race do it for a living, plus they enjoy the excitement of racing, and they know what they might face every time they sit in their race car as well.
I hate that this happened to a great man and a great father as Darrell Waltrip was saying about him, and I pray that no other race car driver will meet the same fate as poor Dale. I will miss him, as everyone that knew him will too. He was a professional race car driver!!!!
God Bless you, Dale. We love you!
Frankie and Ginger Warren
My favorite Earnhardt memory has to be his high-five trip down pit road at Daytona in 1998. The child-like joy expressed by Dale gripped an entire nation as everyone in the stands gave him a standing "O" and every driver's pit crew came out to congratulate Ironhead at the end of his first Daytona 500 victory.
That NASCAR memory will be on my mind this weekend as I struggle to watch the Rockingham race without my favorite No. 3. Better keep the crying towel close because it's going to be a tear jerker.
Steve McCartney