It was 1990. I must have still had that damn perm my friends allowed me to think made me look cute. (I ask, were they really friends, if they let me walk around with that hair?) Peter and I went to the Hatch Shell in Boston to see Nelson Mandela, on one of his first U.S. stops after his 27 year imprisonment. It was crowded and electric. There were thousands of people lining the Charles that day. Paul Simon performed. But what I remember best, was that when he came onto the stage, it was emotional mayhem. People cried, looked on in awe and smiled, cheered with full hearts. It was a little like seeing Jesus. I mean, this was a man of deep conviction and justice, freedom and beauty. A man who walked the walk and talked the talk. It was one of my best moments.
Nelson Mandela always reminded me of a human onomatopoeia. His face, the embodiment of kind, friendly and peaceful, really seemed to illustrate his soul. What does it take to stand for what you believe in the way he did? Do you know anybody who would give up their lives for a cause? I know some passionate and principled people, but none of them would really trade in their whole selves for the betterment of something bigger.
Nelson Mandela inspired me then and continues to wow me now. The world is better because of him. We are all better becasue of him.