Jim Cooper, Associated Press

Yankee Stadium. If you could make it there, you could make it anywhere. In fact, for a baseball park, it borders on being a national shrine.

Now, after 85 years, it's coming down.

But what an 85 years it has been.

Yankee Stadium is where Lou Gehrig claimed he was "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." It's where Babe Ruth terrorized opposing pitchers, where Reggie Jackson put three first-pitches over the fence in a World Series and where Mickey Mantle became a hero to a generation.

Yet it was more than a baseball field. The "greatest football game ever played" — the 1958 championship game between the Colts and the Giants — took place there. So did boxing matches featuring Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. Soccer was played there.

Yet it was more than a sports arena. Billy Joel sang at Yankee Stadium. So did Bono.

Yet it was more than an entertainment center. Three popes — Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI — performed masses there. Presidents addressed the nation from Yankee Stadium. It was the site of a special ceremony to commemorate the fallen of 9/11. Nelson Mandela's release from prison became a Yankee Stadium celebration.

Yet it was even more than all those things.

It was the repository not just for American memories, but of American know-how, optimism and attitude. The Lincoln Memorial. Mount Rushmore and Independence Hall are sacred to the nation. Yankee Stadium doesn't lag too far behind.

And in the true spirit of America, it is now being replaced by something that looks to the future.

That's what Americans do.

And Yankee Stadium will forever be a part of it.