In his comments during the ceremony, Adams said, “This is the second time we’ve been able to come here to Bowling Green to raise the flag for South Africa, and my love and aspiration for the country. I still remember the days of driving from Soweto to Port Elizabeth to Jo’burg to Cape Town and just seeing a beautiful country and what it represents, and the spirit and energy that looking out from Robben Island, a place where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years…in prison, and the 29th year of acknowledging Freedom Day and what it means and what it represents. As the country continues to evolve from so many years of being under the grip of apartheid, that shows the resiliency of the country and what it represents.
“I am so proud to say that I am the second African American mayor [to make such a declaration]. Sometimes when I say I am the second African American mayor, we only focus on the ‘American’ part. But let’s be clear: I am African. I am African, and we should not allow ourselves to be ripped apart from the success.
“When you look up and you watch me speak and stand on and fight for what is right, something special should come between what you are feeling and our ancestors [who] lie on the bottom of the ocean floor. This is a proud moment for them because although you can take away the physical presence, the anatomy of our spirits and our heritage and our lineage—it goes throughout time. It doesn’t end and it doesn’t conclude. It is always here, so you can hear the cries from Fort Elmina in Ghana, you can hear it from Goree Island outside of Senegal when we visit there in the Door of No Return.”