Spirit of the 32nd Olympiad. Opening Ceremony Tokyo Olympics. Faster. Higher. Stronger.
Let's give a well deserved cheer that the city persevered and have, despite constant challenges, almost insurmountable obstacles and on-going covid set backs, delivered the greatest four-yearly international event in the sporting calendar. Athletes from all over the world performing at the most awe-inspiring levels of skill, fitness and sportsmanship, complete with triumphs, tragedies and glory for their countries.
TWO YEARS AGO I was in Tokyo and the tour guide proudly pointed out a giant 2020 sculpture overlooking the city. No-one could ever have imagined that a global pandemic would sweep over the world and the Games would be cancelled.
The soaring crescendo of Ravel's 'Bolero' in a socially distanced arena, gave majesty to the symbolic arrival of the Olympic Torch as it was carried high into the stadium and passed from the hands of school children; to gold medal athletes; to a doctor and nurse team who treated covid patients and a medal winning paraplegic athlete. Japan's four times tennis gold winner Naomi Osaka with her waist length red braids raised the torch to ignite the Olympic cauldron in a glittering globe at the top of a steep flight of lighted stairs.
John Lennon's inspirational anthem 'Imagine" was given voice by musical legends from all over the world; Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Oceania and reminded us,
"And the world will live as one."
Tokyo's skyline was illuminated by a technological masterpiece; 180 light carrying drones formed a dazzling globe and on Wings that Fly, thousands of paper doves filled the sky.
"Let the Games Commence."
CONSOLE THE SOUL: PRAYERS FOR SURFSIDE. To mark and honor the catastrophic events engendered by the collapse of the Champlain Towers and the tragedy and heartbreak experienced by so many individuals, last night on Miami Beach a service was held to remember those who died, those still missing and those forever hurting. Introduced by Mayor Danielle Levine Cava, at an inter-faith musical gathering at Temple Emanu-el, prayers, sacred readings and words of comfort and compassion, were led by rabbis, reverends and priests from the local community. Uplifting and inspirational classical symphonies, hymns and contemporary music including the powerful "You Raise Me Up" and "I am Not Alone" reached deep into the soul and affirmed the strength and endrance of the human spirit. A guided meditation united the congregation in a time of reflection and healing.
During his visit to Surfside this week President Biden extended his timetable several times. Hr refused to be rushed in his duties as consoler-in-chief. He was not here in Florida for a photo op - he was at the city where the Champlain Towers collapsed with over a hundred people still missing and feared dead in the rubble, to bring comfort to grieving families, support and encoragement to First Responders and a pledge of federal funding to the politicians and financial mangers.
"They are going through hell," he said as he met and sat with every one of the relatives of the victims personally.
His message to the hundreds of members of rescue and medical teams and all those undertaking the dangerous and exhausting process of searching the collapsed building for survivors at condo ground zero, was "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you."
The humanity and empathy of this President and First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden shines through. One 9 year old girl who lost her father in the tragedy requested she be allowed to meet the POTUS.
She told members of his team, "I want to give him a hug and say, "Thank you, Mr. President." "
Thank you to Task Forces, medical teams, rescuers and all those who are working tirelesly to bring some salvation and solace to the tragic situation. Thanks also to news crews, reporters and photographers who record the heartbreaking scene and keep us informed and updated. The whole community has come together. We are united in grief!!!
DATELINE FLORIDA. There is a sombre mood in Miami and the Beaches. The catastrophic condo collapse in the resort of Surfside is casting a dark cloud over the city and surrounding areas along with the smoke from smouldering fires in the Champlain Towers and lighting strikes, thunderstorms and rain lashed downpours. What happened is so shocking, it is hard to comprehend. No cause or explanation is yet forthcoming.
Residents end the long summer day, go to bed and wake in the middle of the night to find their building a pile of rubble. No survivors have been found for several days now. All around the site of the tragedy, locals are looking at their own buildings, especially those built on sand, close to the ocean, and asking, "Could it happen here?"
Our lives really are so uncertain these days, all hopes and dreams and plans built on shifting sand.
Tomorrow is never promised!!! Hold your loved one extra close !!!!!
Ellen Frazer-Jameson is a journalist, author, actress. theater producer and drama coach. She co hosted the largest live late night radio show in Europe for the BBC and has appeared on national TV shows and taken leading roles on stage. She lives in Miami and London and loves to dance Argentine tango.