Late last fall a call for volunteers went out to choirs in the Seattle Area. The vision was to create a two-thousand-eighteen person choir to perform at the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics USA Games. My daughter loves to sing and volunteer, she joined as soon as she received the e-mail. You can read an article from The Seattle Times about the choir here.
As choir family members, my husband and I had the opportunity to buy tickets. Since we attend her musical events when possible, we arrived at the University of Washington Husky Stadium on July 1, 2018, in a crowded light rail car.
The day began with rain, but sun broke through the grey skies as we found our seats. Spectators were energized and celebratory. Some carried signs to cheer on athletes, all wore smiles. The wave circled the stadium. I imagine the excitement at any Olympic opening ceremony couldn’t have been more infectious.
ESPN covered the event in a live broadcast. Ended up we were participants at an event attended by the Governor of Washington, CEO of Microsoft, an American Idol winner, notable athletes and entertainers. Pretty interesting company.
Despite the presence of politicians, celebrities, and business leaders, the real stars were the athletes. Joy and excitement overflowed as they marched into the stadium, danced to the songs, and cheered for the speakers. Printed on the banners, Rise With Us, proclaimed the goal of the games-inclusion. We build a stronger world when we include people of all abilities. One of the intellectually disabled athletes said when she participates in the games, “people see me, not my disability.”
At one point in the ceremony, we helped pass a banner overhead. That helped me spot us when I watched the recording of the broadcast. I also spotted our daughter! That wasn’t easy, take a look at this photo. I was glad I had the opportunity to support and welcome the Special Olympic USA games to Seattle. I hope all the visitors enjoyed their time in the Pacific Northwest. Click here if you wish to learn more about the Special Olympics USA Games.