Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Speech time!

For the third straight year I will be going to an annual luncheon sponsored by the Physically Challenged Irish And American Youth Team in honor of a delegation of disabled children visiting from the emerald isle. Last year I was a nervous wreck preparing and then giving a short speech to give to the event’s attendees but it thankfully turned out very well:

In the end I got a standing ovation (from those who could stand, that is) and it was then that I was filled with pride in accomplishing both what I had been sent out to do as well as to overcome the mistakes I made in previous occasions.

This year I will probably be made to speak again. Honestly, I don’t mind having to talk in front of crowds big or small. My main preoccupation is with saying the right thing in the right way to the right crowd. In retrospect, I nailed the first two parts but I don’t think it resonated well with the kids.

Yet if I’m granted the opportunity to speak at next Tuesday’s affair I anticipate that I will have the kids’ attention. The topic for my speech will be on the late Henry Viscardi Jr. - a visionary who emphasized that disabled people deserve to be empowered in order to be functional members of society. I was lucky enough not only to graduate from the school that bares his name but to also have met him on several occasions. He was truly an inspiration and someone I have never forgotten.

In a small cabinet in my bedroom I have a copy of one of his books: Give Us the Tools. I believe it is in that book where he said:

"Life demands love. Loving means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all. Faith means believing the unbelievable, and to hope means hoping when things are hopeless."

I am ready for the luncheon.

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