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|The site below was placed online in July & August, 1996, and has largely been left in its original form|
After the broadcast was over at 9am, Katie Couric spent at least 30 minutes
working the crowd, signing autographs, posing for photos with dozens of folks,
cutting up with everyone, and proving by being so accomodating that she truly
is America's Babe. Al Roker also spent some time with the crowd, and
even brought out his personal camcorder to film the offering of flowers. Bryant?
Well....it must be his "short-timers" attitude, or perhaps no one wanted to
talk to him (probably both), but he stayed glued to his chair.
|Were people afraid to bring their kids? Heck no, they brought them in strollers, they carried them, they watched them play in the fountain. Fear was not in our vocabulary. Defiance, pride, determination... these were the words of the day. And we wanted the children to see that.|
After beginning with a soulful solo by Wynton Marsalis, Billy Payne stepped up to the podium on the Global Village stage, and spoke for less than a minute, but with more emotion and sincerity than I've ever seen out of him. But he was just there to introduce the Atlanta Games' spiritual guru, Andrew Young, a man of great dignity, and a great orator. When Andy's done speaking, most people feel calmer, wiser, and more loving of their fellow man. He has that effect on folks, and today was no exception.
The ceremony ended with a couple of upbeat musical numbers, and then the park was officially declared open. From our vantage point, although we could see a lot, we could only see the edge of the crowd, and couldn't judge its size. As we walked around the back of the tower, the panorama of people opened up before our eyes, people jammed shoulder to shoulder as far as the eye could see. Atlanta had returned to the park, and given loud notice that it will not be taken away.
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