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Notebook: The 1996 Olympics
Liberty lore
Margie Love
Margie Love writes Liberty Lore, a regular column on local history. - photo by File photo

From time to time I find things that I want to remember so I write them down in composition notebooks. This column contains some of the information I wrote in my notebooks.

July 9, 1996. All eyes are on the Olympics now to be held in Atlanta. I have been watching it on television where the torch is now in Savannah. It will be in Hinesville tomorrow morning and we will be standing across the street from the courthouse watching the program and the torch come by. Bud Frankenthaler from Hinesville will be running with the torch. My husband, Harlon DeLoach, the Hinesville police vhief, will be sitting in the VIP grandstand. I do not know why I wasn’t invited to sit there and watch with him. I am taking my camera so I can have a picture of this historic event. I went to the beauty shop and had my hair cut this evening and asked the beautician if she was going to watch the torch come through tomorrow morning. She told me that she was not into the Olympics and she did not care anything about it. Well, I am "not into them" either but whether we like it or not, they are something very historical and all eyes in the world will be on Georgia so I will be right there to see all that I can see when the torch comes through. Bruce, my son who is a Georgia State Trooper, called a few minutes ago and said he will get his assignment tomorrow morning in Forsyth and then head to Atlanta to work with the Olympics. Still pray that it will be a peaceful event.

July 16, 1996. Bruce got to come home for a day and night Monday morning about four a.m. He was telling us about the many things that are going on in Atlanta with the Olympics. Prices of things are outrageous and there are people everywhere already. Remember, the big games start July 19, so watch your television and you may hear something about it. The yacht races are on Saturday, I think.

July 27, 1996, Kevin Sack reported: A 40-pound pipe bomb filled with nails and screws exploded at 1:25 AM in the crowded corner of Centennial Olympic Park killing Alice S. Hawthorne, 44, of Albany, Georgia. One hundred and eleven were wounded. Several law enforcement officers, including six Georgia State Troopers and one GBI Agent were among that number. A Turkish television camera man died of a heart attack while running to cover the blast. This attack on the Summer Olympic Games transformed an international celebration of sports and fellowship into a symbol of the dark side of modern life. But the 17 day competitions will go on.

Aug. 5, 1996. This has been one of the longest weeks in my life. As you know our son Bruce was working in Atlanta with the Olympics. As a State Trooper, he was patrolling the Centennial Park the night of the bombing on July 27. However, he was just walking out to the command post to recharge his batteries and felt the huge shock from the bomb explosion. He was one of the first to get to the wounded victims. It had happened in the area he had just left. This really shook him up. Thank you all for your prayers. He arrived home this morning safe and sound. These past four weeks with the Olympics will be something he will never forget and do not want to be a part of again!

The following information was obtained from Wikepedia, the free encyclopedia. In February 1998, Eric Robert Rudolph, born in 1966, was convicted of placing the 40-pound bomb in the park. He was a fugitive from the law until his capture in 2003, in Murphy, North Carolina, by a rookie police officer. He said he survived while on the run by camping in the woods, gathering acorns and salamanders, pilfering vegetables from gardens, stealing grain from grain silos and raiding dumpsters in the nearby town. Rudolph pled guilty in April 2005 to this crime and several other bombings. He did a plea bargain and was sentenced in August 2005 to serve four consecutive life sentences plus 120 years in prison. As a condition of his plea bargaining, he had to tell where he had hidden 250 pounds of dynamite in the woods in North Carolina. He told the authorities and they found it. He spends 22-1/2 half hours alone in an 80 square foot concrete cell.

The 2016 Summer Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There are more than 10,293 confirmed participants at this time and may be more. The problems have already been numerous. The Bay is polluted very badly but is okay for the yacht races. The Zika virus is the main concern for everyone, especially the women. Security is very high.

Let us all pray that this will be a very successful game time and there will be no terrorist threats or attacks on the millions of people who will be gathered in Rio from all parts of the world. The Olympics are referred to this year as Rio 2016.

Margie Love writes Liberty Lore, a regular column on local history.

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