I have had an incredible experience year after year when it comes to the story I am about to tell. I always know, from the moment that I wake up on this special day that I was going to be a part of a uniquely Chicago event. Despite the fact that I have been a part of the celebration for over twenty years, I felt a sense of joy that made me anticipate what was going to happen.
Now, I have sung the National Anthem thousands of times over the years. I have sung for All-Star Games in NHL and MLB. NBA Finals, next to a few Presidents of the United States, dozens of dignitaries and a million people in Grant Park, not to mention just about every kind of sporting and civic event that you can name… and yet… this one event holds a special place in my heart. It is the opening ceremonies of the Chicago Special Olympics at Soldier Field.
From the beaming faces on the busses in the parking lot, to the parade of athletes, we can learn a lot about pure joy and excitement life can bring. As thousands of Special Olympians file past the reviewing stand on parade, then proudly stand and sing the National Anthem along with me at the top of their beautiful voices, it is what I feel to be a moment of destiny. I feel that if I were given my voice to sing just one event each year… it would be this one.
My hat is off to the now 45-year tradition of the Chicago Special Olympics. My involvement and participation has been a privilege as well as a labor of love. I pray that we continue together for many more years.
Tuesday May 7, 2013
Opening Ceremonies at Soldier Field