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As a British ex-pat, now American citizen, I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games with anticipation. What would it show about the country I grew up in? Would it stand up to the overwhelming amazement of the Beijing Games?
Well what it certainly did show is that we’re no Chinese!
We don’t have their synchronization, nor maybe their order. But what it truly did show is our wit, our sprit and mainly our heart. I mean, who else’s Queen would jump out of a helicopter, and then go on to keep a stiff upper lip during a children’s choir singing and signing God Save The Queen.
From the Olympic rings being forged before our eyes, to the cycling doves flying off into the night sky, like ET on his way home, to the beautiful Olympic flames merging together to form the Olympic cauldron. It was a movie, a theatre production, a pop concert and a tribute to who the British really people are.
As we saw over and over again, giving back is part of our heritage.
Even the Director gave back by including the hundreds of men and women, who having worked for years to construct the Olympic village, turning a dirty, lifeless part of London into a vibrant, breathing neighborhood once more. From the nurses and doctors, who volunteered their time to take part in the tribute to our health system, to the hundreds of volunteers who made the ceremony come to life, we are a nation who thinks of others.
Giving back has been the mainstay of my life with cancer for the past 6 years.
So, as I sat and watched the Opening Ceremony, it made me wonder whether it had been ingrained in my nature during the thirty or so years I’d lived there.
Or was it really in my anglo-saxon genes?
Or was it just the urge to find kindred spirits and temper the pain I saw on their faces? I’d never done any charity work, or volunteered, in the UK. Sure, I’d given to charity, but never purposely got up every morning to give back to others.
I’d always thought it was your wonderful American openness and confidence that had drawn me out, but maybe it just drew out my Britishness! Whatever it was, I was doubly proud, as an American Brit, to be watching the ceremony from afar. And no I didn’t understand it all, like many of you, – who were those people on the video screens anyway! – but what I saw marveled me no less than the Opening Ceremony four years ago in China.
Was it precise? “No”. Was it unbelievably tactical? ”No”. But what wowed me was the warm fuzzy feeling it created in my heart.
It made me want, even more, to be like the dove that rose gracefully into the starlit sky, spreading a message of hope and peace.
Because maybe, just maybe, I could do that for all the courageous cancer survivors out there. And if that’s not possible, then I’ll just have to teach them the stiff upper lip.
Kay Kerbyson lives with her family in West Richland, Wash.
She is a local and national cancer advocate, and Founder/President of Ovarian Cancer Together Inc, a non-profit organization.