How nice to see the world at war again. This, however, is a peaceful war - an oxymoron that best describes the 2004 Olympic Games, now under way in Athens, Greece.

On the Olympic battlefield are fought some of the world's fiercest battles. But there is no intentional spilling of blood, no loss of life. And while there might be some embarrassment and even a little humility, there is no real shame. Instead, these brave competitors face one another with a special pride of knowing that no matter what the outcome, they are among the very best in the world. ...

Here is a melting pot of cultures and creeds, where skin color goes unchecked across a level playing field in a remarkable demonstration of hard work, determination and perseverance.

It brings cheers. And tears. But in the end there is a luster far brighter than a gold, a silver or a bronze. It shines with a brilliance that can cut through a more troubled world, if only we could see the light. We must seize every opportunity to open the door to let it in.

- Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.

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