In a few days, I will celebrate--in my heart--the first anniversary of the Games of the XXIII Olympiad. It seems like only yesterday that International Olympics Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch handed the Olympic Flag to Mayor Tom Bradley.
Those were wonderful days. The Games brought the people of this city together, perhaps for the very first time.
I lived the first 30 years of my life in New York, and the last 15 in Los Angeles. But in my heart, I was still a New Yorker. Los Angeles was to me, a fragmented city, built on a Hollywood foundation of make-believe; a place to visit, but a city without a song. And I was convinced, the reason we did not have a good song was because we really didn't believe in our city. We didn't LOVE our city. Even the Dodgers came from Brooklyn.
But that began to change about two or three weeks before the Opening Ceremonies. The people changed--they became warm and friendly; they cried as the men and women carrying the Torch passed by, flanked on all sides by flashing lights, cheers and the waving of American flags. We had the "Olympic Spirit"--an electrifying spirit that radiated throughout the world. Los Angeles was the nucleus of the world, and the nucleus was at peace.