ATLANTA — Saturday marks one year since Hank Aaron's passing, and Atlanta stopped to reflect on the memory of a man who was a once-in-a-lifetime figure in sports and culture and made a profound impact on the city's community.
At the time of his death at 86 years old on Jan. 22, 2021, Aaron was remembered as much, much more than a ball player - his dream chaser scholarship recipients remembered him as a man who opened countless doors while his friends and neighbors paid tribute to a "salt of the earth" figure who "loved his community and he wanted to be a part of it."
And, of course, he was indeed a towering sports figure, whose on-field exploits were made all the more remarkable by the racism and hate they were met with off the field.
11Alive Anchor Shiba Russell talked with Aaron's widow, Billye, last month at the Mayor’s Masked Ball, and she spoke of how "very impressed and very honored" she is by how people remember her husband. Earlier this month, Hammerin' Hank was laid to rest at this permanent gravesite at Atlanta's South-View Cemetery.
This all followed on a World Series run for the Braves that many felt was infused with Aaron's spirit - the chairman of the team thanking him as one of the two "angels" looking over Atlanta as they won a championship for the first time in more than 25 years.
The Braves tweeted: "We miss you, Hank."
On Saturday, the city posted a remembrance to mark one year since his passing, and on Friday the Atlanta History Center noted last week marked 40 years since his induction to the Hall of Fame.
11Alive's Reggie Chatman, Jr. recounted on Friday night in a report the many legacies Aaron has continued to leave even since his passing: