As a music lover, it never ceases to amaze me how a single person can revolutionize an entire industry. One such person is the legendary Chet Atkins, a name synonymous with country music and guitar playing expertise. His unique sound and acoustic guitar techniques have influenced and inspired generations of musicians since the 1940s. In this article, we delve deep into the life and music legacy of Chet Atkins, exploring his early beginnings, the development of the Nashville Sound, and his signature guitar techniques. Join me on this journey of discovery and appreciation for one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Early Life and Career
Growing up in rural poverty, Chet Atkins developed a love for music at a young age. His childhood was filled with struggles, including his parents’ divorce and the loss of his brother. However, despite these hardships, Chet found solace in music and knew from an early age that it was his passion. Chet’s first guitars were simple and homemade, yet he managed to teach himself to play and began performing locally. As he honed his skills and gained recognition from his peers, Chet Atkins began his journey towards becoming one of the most influential guitarists in music history.
Chet Atkins, known as “Mr. Guitar,” had a childhood that was strongly influenced by music. Born in Lutrell, Tennessee, in 1924, Chet was the son of a music-loving family. Chet’s father, James Atkins, was a fiddle player, and his mother, Ida, played piano. Chet’s older half-brother, Jim Atkins, also played the guitar.
Chet started playing music at an early age, receiving his first guitar when he was around nine years old. It was a Sears Roebuck Silvertone guitar that his father bought him from a catalog. Despite being a left-handed person, Chet learned to play the guitar right-handed, as his first guitar was right-handed. Chet would never switch to left-handed guitar playing even though it would seem a logical move.
Chet was always interested in learning about music, and he would often listen to his father and brother play. He began to develop his fingerstyle guitar techniques by trying to copy his brother’s playing. He also listened to the recordings of artists like Merle Travis, Doc Watson, and Maybelle Carter, who were all influential guitarists of the time. Chet admired the playing of Merle Travis in particular, who was another of the finger picking style pioneers of the time.
With this exposure to a variety of music and natural talent, Chet’s love for the guitar grew as he practiced more and more. By the time Chet was a teenager, he had already started playing professionally. He would play at local dances and on the radio, which led to him getting his first record deal as a teenager.
Atkins’ upbringing and musical exposure, as well as his own musical background, were strong influences on his playing style and career. His fingerstyle guitar technique was inspired by the musicians he admired, and his natural talent helped him to develop his own unique style. As we explore Chet’s career further, we will see how his music continued to evolve and inspire generations of guitarists to come.
Internal link: Merle Travis was one of the influential guitarists that Chet Atkins listened to and admired as he was learning the guitar.
Chet Atkins’ musical journey started at a very young age. His first guitar was a Sears Silvertone that his brother gave him. He was only nine years old, but his passion for music was already burning inside him. However, it was not until he had seen Les Paul in concert when he finally said that he wanted to become a guitar player.
Atkins was born and raised in Luttrell, a small town in Tennessee. His first guitar was not the only one he had access to, as his father played the fiddle and his brother played the guitar as well. He explored every opportunity to learn from those around him and made sure that he improved his skills every day.
As his skills progressed, Chet got himself an electric guitar and started playing in local bands. It was his cousin who introduced him to Merle Travis’ music, which he found fascinating. Atkins became a huge fan of Travis and spent countless hours practicing his fingerstyle techniques.
Chet Atkins’ uncle, a professional musician, also had a significant impact on his guitar playing. He showed him how to play traditional country tunes, which later on shaped Atkins’ playing style.
Atkins’ passion for the guitar continued to grow, and he would often skip classes to practice. His teachers at school did not approve of his behavior, and his grades started to suffer. Eventually, his parents stepped in and bought him a Gretsch guitar, hoping that he would focus on his studies. However, that was not the case, as Atkins spent even more time practicing and perfecting his skill.
It was Atkins’ natural talent that set him apart from other guitar players. He was never content with just playing the same old tunes and always looked for new ways to improve his playing. He was a true guitar innovator and was constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible with the guitar.
In conclusion, Chet Atkins’ first guitars played a significant role in shaping his overall playing style. His family members and professional musicians in his life all contributed to his musical journey. Later, his exposure to Merle Travis, who was among the Nashville Sound pioneers guitarists, and Maybelle Carter’s flat-picking, as well as other guitarist, such as Doc Watson, a blind guitarist, would further inspire Atkins in developing his fingerstyle and thumb picking techniques.
Chet Atkins’ career began to take off in the 1940s, where he landed a job playing with the legendary Carter Family, which at the time was one of country music’s most popular acts. This opportunity opened the doors for Atkins, and he continued to work as a studio musician and performer, eventually joining the Grand Ole Opry in the 1950s.
Atkins became known for his innovative guitar playing styles, and his ability to play multiple genres of music with ease. His performing and recording credits include working with artists such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, and the Everly Brothers. Atkins was not only a talented guitarist but also a skilled producer, and he produced records for a variety of artists including Don Gibson, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson.
One of his most significant contributions to the music industry was his role in creating the Nashville Sound, a genre that blended traditional country music with pop elements. This sound was incredibly popular in the 1950s and 1960s and helped to modernize country music. Atkins’ approach to producing and arranging music was very unique, and it paved the way for a new era of country music.
Atkins’ time working with the Carter Family also had a significant impact on his style. He learned a lot about fingerpicking from Maybelle Carter’s flat-picking and Doc Watson, a blind guitarist. Atkins’ innovative use of thumb picking and finger-style guitar playing techniques helped solidify his reputation as one of the most influential guitarists to ever live.
In addition to his work as a musician and producer, Atkins also served as an executive for RCA Records, where he helped to establish the label as a major player in the music industry.
Chet Atkins’ professional beginnings had a lasting impact on the world of music, and his legacy continues to influence guitar playing to this day.
The Nashville Sound
With the rise of rock and roll in the 1950s, country music was in need of a new sound. This was when the Nashville Sound emerged, characterized by smoother vocals, strings, and a greater emphasis on polished production. It was at this time that Chet Atkins became a key figure in shaping the sound of country music. He brought his unique guitar techniques to Nashville and helped usher in this new era of country music. Let’s take a closer look at how Chet Atkins became an integral part of the Nashville Sound and the impact it had on country music as a whole.
Introduction to Country Music
Chet Atkins was first introduced to country music early in his career, and it would become a significant influence in his life and legacy. What he discovered was a unique style of music that celebrated the simple joys of life, with themes of love, heartbreak, and Southern pride.
Country music has a rich history that can be traced back to the early 1920s in the Southern United States. It is a genre that has continued to evolve over the years and has produced some of the most iconic musicians in history.
Atkins was drawn to country music because of its emphasis on storytelling through song. He recognized that it was more than just music; it was a way of life. He noted that country music was “the voice of the people,” and it spoke to him in a way that no other genre had.
Atkins was inspired by many of the pioneers of country music, including Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. He was particularly taken with Maybelle Carter’s flat-picking style of playing the guitar, which had a significant impact on his own playing style.
Atkins would also become part of a group of musicians credited with developing a new sound that would later be known as the Nashville Sound. This group included other influential artists like Patsy Cline and Owen Bradley, who all contributed to the growth and popularity of country music during the 1950s.
Chet Atkins also had great admiration for Doc Watson, a blind guitarist who was known for his fingerpicking style. Watson’s unique approach to playing the instrument had a significant impact on Atkins, who would go on to incorporate some of Watson’s techniques into his own playing style.
Country music had a profound impact on the life and career of Chet Atkins. It became a source of inspiration that fueled his passion for music and motivated him to become a pioneer in his own right.
Developing the Sound
Chet Atkins, along with other musicians like Owen Bradley and Bob Ferguson, played a significant role in developing the Nashville Sound. The Nashville Sound was characterized by its polished production values, smooth textures, and lush instrumentation. This sound became popular in the 1960s and dominated country music for years to come.
Chet Atkins was known for his innovative experimentation with this sound, blending traditional country elements with elements of pop and jazz music. He often employed a full string section, backing vocals, and percussion instruments to create a lean, modern sound that was nonetheless rooted in classic country.
One of the most significant contributions that Chet Atkins made to the Nashville Sound was his use of the electric guitar. He pioneered a clean, smooth sound by using a Gretsch guitar and a tape delay system that allowed him to layer multiple guitar parts. This technique was heard on many classic recordings, including “Yakety Axe” and “Mr. Sandman.”
Chet Atkins also brought a sophisticated sense of harmony to his guitar playing. He incorporated complex jazz chords and progressions to his arrangements, which added a new dimension to the Nashville Sound. Atkins was also known for his use of the fingerstyle and thumb picking techniques, which gave his playing a dynamic, rhythmic feel.
His innovative playing style was not appreciated by everyone in the music industry, however. Some traditionalists criticized the Nashville Sound for being too slick and commercial, but Chet Atkins was undeterred. He believed that the music should evolve and grow, and his contributions to the Nashville Sound ensured that country music would remain relevant for decades to come.
Chet Atkins’ legacy stretches far beyond the Nashville Sound. He served as a mentor and inspiration to countless musicians, including Mark Knopfler, Dolly Parton, and George Harrison. His innovative playing style and innovative use of the electric guitar continue to influence guitarists around the world today.
Chet Atkins played a crucial role in developing the Nashville Sound, using innovative experimentation to create a modern, polished sound that nonetheless remained true to country roots. His use of the electric guitar and sophisticated harmony set him apart from other musicians and helped him to create a unique sound that continues to inspire musicians to this day.
Influence on Country Music
Chet Atkins had a profound influence on the world of country music during his career. His innovative approach to guitar playing and sound production helped shape the country music landscape, and inspired countless future generations of musicians.
One of the key ways that Atkins impacted the world of country music was through his role in developing the “Nashville Sound”. This was a sound that emerged in the 1950s and 60s, which placed a greater emphasis on polished production techniques and sophisticated arrangements than had previously been common in country music. The result was a smoother, more easily accessible style of country music that appealed to a wider audience, and which cemented Nashville’s status as the country music capital of the world.
Atkins was a major figure in this movement. His work as a producer and session musician helped him develop the sound, and he worked with other key figures like Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline to create hit records that embodied the Nashville Sound. This helped establish his reputation as a master of the genre, and he became known as “Mr. Guitar” in recognition of his skill.
Atkins also had a huge impact on guitar playing technique in country music. He developed a distinctive, fingerstyle picking technique that involved using the thumb and fingers to pick out complex melodies and harmonies on the guitar. This was a marked departure from the more traditional “flat picking” style that had been popular in country music, which involved using a flat pick to play melodies and chords.
In many ways, Atkins’ fingerstyle technique represented a new direction for country music. It opened up new possibilities for guitar playing, and helped inspire other guitarists to experiment with new techniques and styles. One example of this is Maybelle Carter, who was herself a trailblazer in the world of country music. Carter was known for her distinctive style of flat-picking, but she also experimented with other guitar techniques inspired by Atkins, including finger-picking.
The influence of Chet Atkins on country music is difficult to overstate. His innovative sound production, pioneering fingerstyle guitar playing, and status as a Nashville legend helped him establish a lasting legacy in the genre. Even today, more than a decade after his death, his influence can still be felt in the music of countless country artists who have been inspired by his work.
Acoustic Guitar Techniques of Chet Atkins
When we talk about Chet Atkins, one cannot ignore his mastery of acoustic guitar techniques. His unique style of playing the guitar, which combined fingerstyle picking and thumb-picking, helped him create a sound that was uniquely his own. Atkins was also well-known for his chord progressions and his ability to create complex arrangements. Let’s dive deeper into the techniques he used to create timeless music that still inspires musicians today. If you’re interested in learning about other notable guitarists who mastered fingerstyle picking, check out our article on Maybelle Carter and her contribution to flat-picking.
One of the defining elements of Chet Atkins’ acoustic guitar technique was his mastery of fingerstyle guitar. This approach involves plucking the strings with the fingertips of the right hand, as opposed to using a pick. Atkins’ fingerstyle playing was characterized by its intricate melodies, complex harmonies, and superb control of dynamics.
1. Use of Multiple Fingers: Atkins’ fingerstyle technique involved the use of multiple fingers to pluck the strings. He used his thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers to create intricate patterns of melody, harmony, and rhythm.
2. Hybrid Picking: In addition to fingerpicking, Atkins also used a technique called hybrid picking. This technique involves using a pick held between the thumb and index finger, while the other fingers pluck the strings. Atkins used this technique to add a percussive element to his playing, creating a unique sound that had a rhythmic drive.
3. Travis Picking: Atkins was heavily influenced by the legendary country guitarist Merle Travis and adapted his fingerstyle technique known as Travis Picking. This technique involves alternating the bass notes with the thumb while simultaneously playing a melody or chord with the other fingers. This created a syncopated and swinging feel.
4. Harmonics: Atkins also utilized harmonics in his fingerstyle playing. These are notes that are produced by lightly touching the strings at specific points along the fretboard, creating a bell-like tone. He used harmonics to add a shimmering quality to his melodies, adding to the complexity of his playing.
5. Folk and Classical Influence: Atkins’ fingerstyle technique was heavily influenced by both folk and classical music. He often adapted classical pieces for his fingerstyle playing, incorporating their harmonic and melodic structures into his own compositions. This resulted in his signature style that blended various genres, creating a unique sound that was all his own.
Atkins’ fingerstyle guitar technique was a key factor in his success as a guitarist. His control of dynamics, use of intricate melodies and harmonies, and incorporation of various styles of music set him apart from others in the field. His influence on other guitarists cannot be overstated, and his legacy as a fingerstyle guitar virtuoso lives on to this day.
Thumb Picking Style
One of the most distinctive and influential acoustic guitar techniques utilized by Chet Atkins was his innovative thumb picking style. Atkins is widely considered the master of this technique, which involves using the thumb to play both bass and melody strings simultaneously while the fingers pick the remaining strings.
Here are some key details about Chet Atkins’ thumb picking style and how he applied it to his music:
- Hybrid Picking: Atkins’ thumb picking technique is often referred to as “hybrid picking” because it combines elements of both fingerpicking and flatpicking. This allowed him to create rich, complex textures on the guitar that were not possible with traditional picking techniques.
- Merle Travis: Chet Atkins was heavily influenced by fellow guitarist Merle Travis, who is credited with developing the thumb picking technique. Atkins took the technique and expanded on it, adding his own unique flavor and style to the music he created.
- Chords and Melodies: One of the hallmarks of Atkins’ thumb picking style was his ability to play both chords and melodies simultaneously. This allowed him to create intricate arrangements on the guitar that had depth and complexity, while still maintaining a rhythmic flow and catchy melody.
- Speed and Precision: Chet Atkins’ thumb picking style was known for its speed and precision. He could play lightning-fast runs up and down the neck of the guitar with ease, and his thumb picking technique allowed him to execute intricate patterns and rhythms with unmatched accuracy.
- Innovation: Chet Atkins’ thumb picking style was innovative and groundbreaking in its time, and it has continued to influence generations of guitar players ever since. His unique approach to fingerstyle guitar playing helped define the sound of country music and paved the way for countless musicians to experiment with new techniques and styles.
Chet Atkins’ thumb picking style was a defining characteristic of his music and legacy. His technique not only allowed him to stand out as a performer but also inspired countless other guitar players to push the boundaries of what was possible on the instrument.
When it comes to chord progressions, Chet Atkins was a master at creating unique and interesting patterns. He often incorporated jazz and classical techniques into his playing, which helped distinguish him from other country guitarists of his time. Here are some of the chord progressions that were commonly used by Chet Atkins:
- Circle Progression: This progression involves moving through a series of related dominant seventh chords, creating a sense of tension and resolution. Chet Atkins was known for using this progression in his compositions, often in combination with other techniques like arpeggios and slides.
- Passing Chords: Chet Atkins frequently used passing chords in his playing, which are chords that connect two other chords in a progression. For example, he might use an E7 chord as a passing chord between an A and D chord. This creates a more interesting and fluid sound than simply moving from one chord to the next.
- Bossa Nova: Chet Atkins was a big fan of the Bossa Nova style, and incorporated it into his playing frequently. This style involves using jazz chords and Latin rhythms to create a unique and laid-back sound. Chet Atkins was especially fond of using this progression in his more mellow pieces.
- Chromatic: Chet Atkins was known for his use of chromaticism in his playing, which involves using notes that are a half-step apart. This technique creates a sense of tension and movement, and can be used to transition between chords in a progression.
Chet Atkins was a master at creating unique chord progressions that added depth and complexity to his music. His use of passing chords, chromaticism, and jazz techniques helped set him apart from other country guitarists of his time. Aspiring guitarists can still learn a lot from studying Chet Atkins’ chord progressions and incorporating them into their own playing.
Legacy of Chet Atkins
As we near the end of our journey into the life and music of Chet Atkins, we cannot help but reflect on the strong and lasting impact he had on the world of country guitar. His legacy is one of innovation, creativity, and exceptional skill, embodied by the countless musicians he inspired and influenced throughout his career. In this final section, we will take a closer look at the remarkable legacy left behind by this guitar legend, exploring his contributions to the art of guitar playing, his numerous awards and honors, and his ongoing influence on generations of musicians to come. Let’s dive in and discover the enduring impact of Chet Atkins upon the world of music.
Guitar Innovator and Legend
Chet Atkins was not just a great musician; he was also an innovator and a legend in the world of guitar playing. His unique fingerstyle and thumb picking techniques inspired countless guitarists all over the world. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which Chet Atkins changed the world of guitar playing.
|Thumb Picking Style||Chet Atkins invented and popularized the thumb picking style of playing the guitar. This technique involved using the thumb to pluck the bass strings while the other fingers played the melody and chords on the higher strings. This allowed Chet Atkins to create a complex, intricate sound that was unique and different from the flatpicking style that was popular at the time.|
|Fingerstyle Guitar||Another technique that Chet Atkins is famous for is fingerstyle guitar. This involves playing the guitar with the fingertips rather than a pick, and it allows for a wider range of sounds and tones. Chet Atkins was a master of fingerstyle guitar, and his technique influenced many other guitarists to experiment with this style of playing.|
|Chord Progressions||Chet Atkins was a master of chord progressions and was always experimenting with new ways to harmonize melodies. He created unique chord progressions that were harmonically rich and complex, giving his music a sound that was different from other guitarists of his time. His approach to chords and harmonies revolutionized the way guitarists think about music theory.|
Chet Atkins was a true innovator in the world of guitar playing and his influence can still be felt today. He opened up new avenues of expression for guitarists, inspiring generations of musicians to experiment with different techniques and styles. Chet Atkins was truly a legend of the guitar, and his legacy will continue to inspire and influence future generations of guitarists.
Awards and Honors
Chet Atkins is one of the most celebrated guitarists of all time, and his contributions to music have been recognized with countless awards and honors over the years. In this section, we will take a look at some of the most notable accolades and achievements of Chet Atkins’ illustrious career.
|1964||Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame|
|1973||Named Instrumentalist of the Year by the Country Music Association|
|1983||Received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award|
|1997||Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame|
|2002||Received a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Jam Man”|
|2003||Posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award|
|2011||Memorialized with a bronze statue in Nashville’s Walk of Fame|
As the table shows, Chet Atkins has received a wide range of accolades throughout his career. These range from induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1964 to being posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. His contributions to music have been recognized not only in the country music community but also in the wider world of music, as seen with his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
In addition to these formal accolades, Chet Atkins has also been recognized by his peers and fans as a true innovator and legend in the world of guitar playing. His influence can be heard in the work of countless musicians who have taken inspiration from his fingerstyle guitar and thumb picking techniques. He truly left a lasting legacy in music, and his awards and honors are a testament to the impact he had on the industry.
Influence on Future Generations
Chet Atkins’ influence on future generations of guitar players cannot be overstated. He was one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century, and his innovative techniques and unique style continue to inspire musicians to this day.
Here are some ways in which Chet Atkins influenced future generations of guitar players:
1. Fingerstyle Guitar Playing: Chet Atkins was a master of fingerstyle guitar playing, and he developed many unique techniques that have become staples of the genre. His picking patterns and fingerstyle techniques have been studied and emulated by countless guitarists, including Tommy Emmanuel, Mark Knopfler, and Jerry Reed.
2. Thumb Picking Style: Chet Atkins’ thumb picking style is another technique that has had a lasting impact on guitar players. His use of the thumb to pick out bass lines and melody simultaneously has been widely emulated by guitarists in many different genres, from country to jazz to rock.
3. Chord Progressions: Chet Atkins was also known for his innovative use of chord progressions, and his musical arrangements continue to inspire guitarists to this day. His complex chord structures and use of jazz-inspired voicings have been studied and emulated by countless musicians across many genres.
4. Innovation and Creativity: Perhaps most importantly, Chet Atkins’ legacy is one of innovation and creativity. He was never content to simply mimic what others had done before him, but instead he was always looking for new ways to push the boundaries of what was possible on the guitar. This spirit of innovation has been passed down through the generations of guitar players who have been inspired by his example.
In the end, Chet Atkins’ influence on future generations of guitar players is immeasurable. His unique style and innovative techniques have become a part of the fabric of popular music, and his name remains synonymous with excellence in guitar playing. For many musicians, studying the work of Chet Atkins is an essential part of developing their own skills and style.
After delving into the life and music legacy of Chet Atkins, it becomes clear that he was truly a master of his craft. As a guitarist, he developed unique techniques that continue to influence and inspire musicians to this day. His contributions to country music and the Nashville sound cannot be overstated.
Chet Atkins’ fingerstyle guitar technique revolutionized the way many guitarists approached their instrument. His use of multiple fingers to create intricate patterns and melodies allowed for a fullness of sound that was previously unmatched. Similarly, his thumb picking style allowed for a strong bass line that supported the melody in a unique and powerful way.
One of Atkins’ greatest strengths was his ability to manipulate chord progressions in a way that was interesting and engaging for the listener. He was able to create memorable melodies and harmonies through his use of unusual chord changes, a skill that remains a hallmark of his music.
Atkins’ legacy as an innovator and legend is undeniable. His contributions to country music paved the way for countless others, and his influence can be heard in the music of artists across genres. From his multiple Grammy awards to his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Chet Atkins has left an indelible mark on the music world.
But perhaps Atkins’ greatest contribution was the inspiration he provided to future generations of musicians. Through his music and his techniques, he demonstrated a unique ability to connect with audiences on a deep and emotional level. Today, his legacy lives on not only through his recordings but also in the countless musicians who have been inspired by his example.
In conclusion, Chet Atkins was a true master of his craft whose influence continues to be felt in the world of music today. His legacy serves as a testament to the power of creativity, innovation, and a true love for one’s art. We can all learn from the way that Atkins approached his music and his life, and continue to strive for excellence in our own pursuits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What inspired Chet Atkins to start playing the guitar?
Chet Atkins was inspired to play the guitar after seeing a traveling medicine show as a child, where he saw a performer playing a tenor guitar.
What was Chet Atkins’ nickname?
Chet Atkins’ nickname was “Mr. Guitar.”
Did Chet Atkins only play country music?
No, Chet Atkins also played jazz, pop, and classical music in addition to country.
What was the Nashville sound?
The Nashville sound was a subgenre of country music that originated in the 1950s and was characterized by the use of pop-influenced orchestration and production techniques.
What is fingerstyle guitar?
Fingerstyle guitar is a technique of playing the guitar where the strings are plucked directly with the fingertips or fingernails, instead of using a pick.
What is thumb picking style?
Thumb picking style, also known as Travis picking, is a fingerstyle guitar technique where the thumb plays a bass line while the other fingers play melody notes.
Who were some musicians influenced by Chet Atkins?
Some musicians who were influenced by Chet Atkins include Mark Knopfler, George Harrison, and Willie Nelson.
What is a chord progression?
A chord progression is a sequence of chords played in a specific order that forms the basis of a song or piece of music.
What innovations did Chet Atkins bring to guitar playing?
Chet Atkins pioneered the use of studio effects and production techniques in country music, as well as popularizing thumb picking style and developing his own innovative techniques for playing fingerstyle guitar.
What is Chet Atkins’ legacy?
Chet Atkins is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time and his influence can be seen in many different genres of music. He was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and his contributions to the music industry continue to be celebrated and honored to this day.