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Greatest Historical Event

Life Story Club Contributor

June 12, 2020

So the greatest historical event that I went through was when Nelson Mandela came to New York City after being imprisoned for 27 years in South Africa. It was really a wonderful experience to see him. They had a motorcade for him. He was in this special vehicle where he was surrounded by glass. It was almost like a glass dome and it looked like a really futuristic vehicle. There was such an outpouring of people, crowds and crowds, for hours. I stood in the crowd for hours to see him, and it was so amazing to see him. He looked, you know, like an elderly man, very frail looking, but it was just wonderful to see that he had gotten out of his imprisonment in South Africa. I, you know, didn’t think that I would be able to see that occur in my lifetime. But I was so happy to see it and it was just a moment of so much emotion and beauty. It was painful and joyous at the same time because, to think that he had spent the majority of his life in jail and under such horrific conditions was really terrible, but the fact that he was able to get out and the fact that he was able to get out because so many people all over the world had stood by him and fought for him for, for his freedom, as well as the freedom of the other prisoners, because they were like 13 prisoners on Robben Island with him, and also fought to overthrow the Apartheid system… It was just really so amazing and so moving. So I think that was the most historically significant thing I saw, and the most moving. And just the magnitude of the amount of people that came to see him, you know, the streets were filled. Tt was just like a real beautiful spirit that people had and it was a wonderful experience.

The crowd was like, blocks, you know, as far as your eye could see, there were people. And just as far as you could look, forward and backward, there were people. Everybody was cheering him on, you know, and it just took my breath away. You know, and just to see that he had gotten out and was able to be free really took my breath away too. People were very patient because we had to wait hours and the police, of course, there were a couple incidents. Even then, where they were kind of very rude to the crowd, you know. But it took a lot of patience to wait, but the wait was worth it. You know, because just to see him was worth it. So, it was a great moment.

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