Twenty years ago in 1993, Nelson Mandela came to Georgia, a few months after he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
In Atlanta, he appeared at black churches, had lunch with top managers of Coca-Cola and accepted an honorary degree from Clark Atlanta University.
Mandela returned to the U.S. one year later, as the newly elected first black South African president.
When Mandela passed away at age 95, Georgia's own Jimmy Carter said Mandela should be forever linked to three other giants of peace: Martin Luther King Junior, Mahatma Ghandi and Mother Theresa.
Mandela exhibited grace and forgiveness not many people could manage if they faced decades in prison, designed to keep Mandela out of sight, out of mind and out of the struggle to stop institutional racism in South Africa.
Who would blame Mandela for being bitter or angry or unforgiving when he was finally released from jail? But Mandela was none of those things.
Instead, Mandela forgave his oppressors to set a living example of harmony and compassion.
Our world is still stricken with poverty, hate, hunger and disease.
But Mandela's life of almost a century can teach us to follow his path toward justice and peace in the next 100 years.
WTVM Editorial Committee
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