CULTURE

The Flame of Hope: From the Pnyx to the White House

It was hot on the Pnyx on Thursday when the Flame of Hope was lit for its long journey to Shanghai, and just as hot Thursday in the White House Rose Garden, where President George W. Bush and Laura Bush officially greeted the flame. «Welcome back to the White House, Eunice. I’m glad you brought your kid,» said Bush to Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, whose son Timothy Shriver has succeeded his mother as president of the organization. He travels from country to country and continent to continent, to create a better world for the athletes who give their best to participate in the games. The first lady spoke about the Flame of Hope then Bush talked about the meaning of the Special Olympics. He congratulated the officials who worked «with a sacred flame to guide you.» Yianna Despotopoulou, Special Olympics Hellas president and Athens 2011 Special Olympics organizing committee president, offered Laura Bush an olive wreath. The program continued with the flame bearers running to pass on the flame in the grounds of the White House and outside on Capitol Hill. Thursday’s ceremony was a milestone in the history of the torch, which entered the White House for the first time.