By Ileana Diaz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–His big smile and friendly wave is what many remember about Nelson Mandela the day he was awarded the Liberty Medal in 1993.
Director of Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service, Todd Bernstein says, “It was a sunny, incredibly hot, humid day but none of that was important because of the excitement of the event.”
And just moments before Mandela got on stage Bernstein, who worked for Senator Harris Wofford at the time, had the honor of meeting him.
“He was humble, kind and asked questions about you, which you might not expect of a world leader.”
A world leader who changed his country for the better and influenced Americans from all backgrounds like Bernstein, who later visited South Africa during Mandela’s Presidency in the mid 90’s.
Bernstein says, “I just remember his kindness, warmth and an overwhelming presence.”
It’s a presence Congressman Chaka Fattah is familiar with. He met Mandela in Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and even in Africa and never once left disappointed.
“He had an unapologetic grace, such a special person. And I don’t think there will be another like him in our lifetime.”
A lifetime that will now be remembered for peaceful change and a message of courage and strength that continues to reach younger generations in Philadelphia.
Danielle Jeter says, “Having to have those examples to look at, his stories, they inspire myself and others.”