When we become part of something that is right and just we become better people. Hats off to NBC and veteran television anchor, Bob Costas, for giving us the opportunity. In his July 27th broadcast of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games, Mr. Costas will include a moment of silence in memory of the 11 athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. Not only is that the right thing to do, it is something the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has refused to do for 40 years.
In this weekend's Wall Street Journal (July 21-22, 2012), David Feith, an assistant editorial features editor, wrote that in addition to NBC and Mr. Costas others have spoken up in favor of commemorating the Munich murders including President Barack Obama, all U.S. senators, every Australian and Canadian parliamentarian, Germany's foreign minister and some 100,000 online petitioners.
Many boys and girls dream of becoming an Olympic athlete as much or more than they dream of going into space. Even people who are far from athletic feel inspired by the Olympics. There's something about being a world-class athlete...being recognized as the best in the world...that we admire. Watching, and cheering for, these athletes nurtures our own hopes and dreams, too. Unlike Hollywood stars, there's no myth or mystique around Olympic athletes. They're everyday people who worked hard, often in adverse situations, to develop their gifts. They're not millionaires. They live in everyday homes. They work in everyday jobs. Just look at the Home Depot commercials.
On top of that, there's something that we have felt about the spirit of the Olympics that brings us all together from around the world. Long before Twitter or facebook, the Olympics gave us a world-wide spirit of unity and cooperation as we rooted for these super-talented athletes. We learned their stories and heard about the hardships they have overcome. We watched runners from rural parts of Africa training in the wilderness, and learned about the Jamaican bobsled team, whose story was retold in the movie "Cool Runnings".
At the 1972 Olympics, in Munich, Germany 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. The spirit of what the Olympics represented was forever shattered. As Mr. Feith reminds us in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, at the time, the IOC President, didn't even want to suspend competition nor did he want to allow the flags to be lowered to half-mast because 10 Arab nations objected. "The games must go on," IOC president, Avery Brundage, said at the time. To this day, the IOC has refused even a moment of silence for these slain athletes. What has happened to common decency and humanity? It is surely not a part of the IOC spirit.
When you're watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic games on July 27th, stand and remember these athletes for a moment of silence. They had the same hopes and dreams as athletes from every other country. They were murdered simply because they were Israeli. There are certain things that cannot be forgotten. It's a fact of history. It happened. Ignoring it does not change it. We become better human beings by honoring the memory of these athletes and by recognizing the atrocity against humanity.
Thank you, Mr. Costas and NBC, for leading the way in the right direction.