I didn’t cry at the wedding, I saved it for the entire 1/8 of a mile I was running with a butane flame.
The minute I stepped off the shuttle, the cold air hit my warm tears. Every step brought along the visceral reactions associated with just how powerful the moment was for me. When I saw my freshly minted family, along with friends gathered along Genesee Street to cheer me on, I started the bawling. Crying with me, hubby and my new nephew, Lawrence; he thought I’d be running all the way to Salt Lake City. He feared I was leaving him.
I’m usually not the crier. Hubby, of passionate Italian-Irishman heritage, cries at cotton and pet commercials. But that day, I remember the endless tears streaming down my face, these streamers of joy. I had this realization that only in America could a daughter of immigrants carry a symbol of peace, unity, and sportsmanship through her newly adopted community of Utica, NY. Only in this great country would this girl, who learned to speak English second to Mandarin-Chinese, be anchoring the evening news in a small town. Only here in this diverse nation, far from her home in Los Angeles, would she be embraced by her new family, without reservations.
A decade later, hubby has since framed my torch, jogging set, and newspaper clippings. It is such a source of unbridled exuberance when I see that collection of memories. And as I prepare to watch the London Olympics, I’m returned to that one moment in time and reminded of the immense honor I had of carrying the Olympic torch. Only in America!
(Video courtesy of Kelly Fuller/WKTV)