Remarks: 1987 World Games

Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Charge to the Athletes at the Opening Ceremonies of the International Summer Special Olympics Games. South Bend, Indiana, USA August 2, 1987

Tonight, in this great stadium, a new legend is born. You, athletes, are the heroes of that legend. Here, where crowds once cheered for Johnny Lujack and George Gipp: for Joe Theisman and Rocky Bleier, tonight they cheer for you.

You are the stars and the world is watching you. By your presence you send a message to every village, every city, every nation. A message of hope. A message of victory:

"The right to play on any playing field?

You have earned it.

The right to study in any school?

You have earned it.

The right to hold a job?

You have earned it?

The right to be anyone's neighbor?

You have earned it."

The days of segregation and separation are over!

You Special Olympians have thrilled us on the playing fields of the world. You have taught us that what matters is not power or politics, weapons or wealth. What truly counts is the courageous spirit, the generous heart.

Like the heart of the mother whose daughter is special. She walked with her child 16 miles each week from her village to the coach who taught her daughter how to run. This mother is in the stadium tonight and tomorrow, with the world watching, she will she her daughter race in the 200 meter dash. When our hearts are touched