U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Honor Merle Haggard With Bakersfield Tribute
He may be gone, but Merle Haggard won’t soon be forgotten. The legacy the late singer left behind will live on as the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to name the Bakersfield post office after the country icon.
Brought to the floor by Kevin McCarthy, the representative for Bakersfield in California’s 23rd district, the bill was agreed upon unanimously after a thought provoking speech by the House Majority Leader.
“Mr. Speaker, you can take a look back on American history. You can see figures standing tall who spoke for the everyday working man. Following a long tradition of Whitman and Twain, Merle Haggard was a man who knew America instinctively, because he lived an American life. It wasn’t a life for the movies, but it was all more compelling, because it was all more real. That is the reason they called him the poet of the common man,” began McCarthy.
The representative went on to cover more of Haggard’s rough beginnings and recalled how he turned it around to become one of the most successful country artists of all time.
“He found success, and more importantly, redemption in the music he shared with his country,” McCarthy continued. “Now The Bakersfield Sound changed country music, and it’s a testament to Merle Haggard’s talent. When you listen to his hits, from ‘Branded Man,’ to ‘Mama Tried,’ to ‘Big City,’ to ‘Working Man Blues,’ or even to ‘Okie From Muskogee,’ you not only hear the hardship and wisdom of a well-lived life, but you can hear the roots of so much of the music we still listen to today.”
Concluded McCarthy, “Merle Haggard’s name will live on in this building, but his spirit will live on in his music that calls us to do the best we can every day God gives us.”
The post office is located at 1730 18th St. in Haggard’s hometown of Bakersfield.
Haggard died on April 6, 2016, his 79th birthday, after battling double pneumonia. He was surrounded by friends and family at his home in California.
Watch the touching tribute in the video above.