I'm sure a zillion words will be written about the Olympics and the Opening Ceremonies. Maybe even two zillion. Some will critique the program (too long, too hokey, too loud, too something-or-other). Some will pontificate on the esoteric meaning behind some of the more obscure moments.
Here's my two cents worth.
The pageantry, the lovely Queen leaping from a helicopter with Bond, James Bond, the singing, the dancing, the fireworks all are meaningless without the parade of nations. Every two years we humans get together at some designated location to compete in sport. With a blessedly few exceptions, we carry out this event in a peaceful, even joyous manner.
Is there national loyalty? Absolutely. Does this spectacle stop wars, erase bigotry, or solve religious differences? Not a chance.
But watching the stunning stream of athletes proudly marching into the arena behind their flags, I was struck by the simple truth--we are all human. Whether our origin is a tiny island in the south Pacific or a huge country like China, we are human, more alike than different, when it comes to muscles, skin, and bone.
Color, religion, politics, gender all take a back seat to our basic humanity. We laugh, we cry, we deal with jubilation and grief. We are more alike than we are different. And our origins are a matter of chance, mostly. Consider that for a moment.
Attitudes, traditions, religion are generally determined by our place of birth. They aren't a facet of our humanity or inherent superiority, but a result of where we grew to maturity. We can change. If we desire it enough, we can make different choices than those imposed on us by our backgrounds.
We can choose to interact with our fellow men and women on an individual basis, not reacting to their ethnicity or religion, their sexual preferences or their political affiliations in a knee-jerk fashion, but striving to see past the facade to their hearts and humanity.
That's the ultimate lesson of the Olympics.