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Whitney’s Flag at Half-Staff

Last Saturday, Whitney Houston’s funeral was held in the same Newark church where she sang in the choir as a child, and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey ordered the flags lowered to half-staff. Critics deluged him with mail and tweets’ saying it was wrong to honor a drug addict; that it set a bad example for youth saying you can be an abuser and still be idolized.

I applaud the governor’s decision, and I am saddened by her early loss. This astoundingly talented woman could not stop killing herself; she never believed she could live happily without the substances she abused. As hard as she tried she could not escape the seduction of drugs as answers to whatever she faced. I lament that she gave up her freedom; if we are to be successful in life it’s because we took responsibility for finding the right solutions to our problems.

Whitney Houston is not the first idol to have died from chemical addictions; the seduction of drugs and alcohol took Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendricks, and Janis Joplin (among many others). They all died from their addictions, but it doesn’t diminish the brilliance of their contributions, nor does it minimize what they leave behind.

On the day they buried her in New Jersey, I sat back and listened to her sing Amazing Grace, she belted out the tune and it brought tears to my eyes.
Reminded me not only of her wonder, but her message; we don’t have to be blind before we can see, and we don’t have to die to have our fears relieved.
A flag at half-staff for Whitney was a wonderful tribute; I would have liked a bagpiper…Thank you Whitney, you were an Amazing Grace.

7 Responses to “Whitney’s Flag at Half-Staff”

  1. Jenna Stiles says:

    Dr. H,
    Your message was so beautifully worded. We should honor her for her talent, her faith and for her wonderful presence.

    We should only view her with compassion. We all walk life’s path in a different way. It was so tragic that in her own mind she coudn’t find a solution.

    Perhaps her death was a blessing for her at this age. If she had continued on her downward spiral, she might have ultimately been living on the streets, older, sicker with few caring about her great talent and only reporting on her addictive behavior..

  2. Andrea Gold says:

    Very moving tribute and statements about the flag at half-staff, and about Whitney’s stellar contributions to our world.

  3. Joyce says:

    Beautifully said. Her contributions to our world will forever live. I, too, sat back and watched her funeral and cried when I heard her sing. My heart goes out to her mother, daughter and family.

    Unfortunately, Whitney was also a woman who endured domestic violence. As I see it, her substance abuse was a result of unresolved grief related to this violence. Because she came to this world with such love in her heart, she could never see the web of destruction she was drawn into.

    May her beautiful Soul rest in peace and comfort now; and may her story become a beacon to shine the light on ways to make positive choices in the midst of darkness.

  4. ida carroll says:

    Bill Maher and Drew Pinsky were talking on Bill’s show this week, that unlike the 60′s when celebraties died (mostly) from heroin and alcohol overdoses, now prescription drugs benzodeazipines (sp?) and alcohol mixed with other drugs maybe is killing the stars, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and now Whitney Houston. Bill thinks it’s because celebraties can’t go to sleep and REALLY want to after the show is over. I think he’s on to something. The notable exception to the heroin alcohol deaths of the 60s is Keith Richards. Keith is alive and well. I saw him (unexpectedly) playing backup for Chuck Barry. Chuck at 80 some years old can still duck walk. An inspiration for us all.

  5. Russel Etter says:

    A second AMEN Carl. Thanks.

    It always is unfortunate when people can’t hate the sin but love the sinner, or putting another way, hate the disease but respect the person.

    She was truly one of the greatest, who gave so much back, especially to her home town and State.

    Russ

  6. Dr. H. You are a good man. Well said my friend. Love your video blogs.

    T.J.

  7. Sending love and warm regards

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Dr. Carl A. Hammerschlag, M.D., CPAE is a psychiatrist, author, and professional keynote speaker. He is an authority in the science of psychoneuroimmunology mind, body, spirit medicine and speaks about health and wellness, healing, leadership and authenticity . He has delivered motivational keynote speeches to corporate and business clients around the world.