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The site below was placed online in July & August, 1996, and has largely been left in its original form
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The Return to Centennial Park
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22k-Matt's flowers
Flowers.....A.C.O.G. couldn't have planned a better motif for this day.....but they didn't. The people did.

19k-flower people To some of the media's dismay, the masses arrived by 7:30am, stacking up behind us, and ruining their "Atlanta's-a-no-show" angle. From back in the crowd, I heard many voices singing, and looked back to see flowers raised in the air, as this group worked its way forward to the gate. From what I could figure, they were part of an International Christian prayer conference that was being held concurrently with the Olympics. They set the tone of the morning, singing "Hallelujah", "Amazing Grace", and spiritual songs of international origin, and passing out carnations to the crowd.

16k-police dogs
When they finally opened the gates, they just opened them a crack, and had rows of security personnel watching those entering, and searching their bags. Folks seemed almost eager to be searched, and I was pleased to see a large security presence, including a multitude of four legged officers on special detail.
19k-flowers & prayers
Upon clearing security, we regular humans became the lemmings, all heading for the now infamous lighting tower. Members of the "conference" all laid their flowers on the ground as an offering of prayer, and others followed their lead.

19k-Matt Ghaffari


As he vowed, U.S. wrestler Matt Ghaffari, a silver medalist in these Olympics, was there with a large arrangment of flowers, that upon closer inspection, also contained a symbolic silver medal (see detail photo at the top of this page).
29k-offerings

Soon the area that had been littered with injured, was littered with flowers, and a solitary flag. It was a spontaneous, unplanned display, by the people, for the people. Since I arrived just ahead of the body of the media beast (they had to stop to sign in and get a pass), I was able to get in and quickly get the shots I wanted. I had to, not because of the oncoming beast, but so I could step aside, kneel down for a minute, and shed a few quiet tears of my own. I certainly wasn't alone, for many were overcome by emotion, as if our collective tears could wash the memory of bloodstains off the engraved bricks at our feet.
19k-flower & statue


To see MORE PHOTOS of the Return to Centennial Park, go to the NEXT PAGE


[click the cauldron
for more stuff I saw]

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