Read Amanda Gorman’s beautiful Super Bowl poem
It has been a whirlwind three weeks for twenty-two-year-old Amanda Gorman. The National Youth Poet Laureate gained international attention and acclaim for reciting her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.
This past weekend Gorman made history as the first poet to perform at the Super Bowl. Her new poem, “Chorus of the Captains” was read just before the coin toss and highlighted the NFL’s three “honorary captains”. This was the first year the league distinguished individuals “who served as leaders in their respective communities during the global pandemic.”
Her performance was intercut with footage of these honorees: Florida nurse manager Suzie Dorner, Marine veteran James Martin, LA educator Trimaine Davis.
Who are the honorees?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the honorees late last month, along with the announcement that Amanda Gorman would recite an original work at the Super Bowl. “During this incredibly challenging time in our lives, Trimaine, Suzie and James have exemplified the essence of leadership, each in their own way,” he told CNN.
Amanda Gorman took each of the honoree’s experiences & achievements, weaving them into the poem she recited on Sunday. Here are the heroes behind “Chorus of the Captains”.
COVID-19 ICU Nurse Manager Suzie Dorner represented her hospital, Tampa General Hospital, and healthcare workers across the nation as she performed the coin toss on Sunday. She lost two grandparents to the coronavirus and continues to fight for the lives of her patients every day.
“It’s been hard, physically, emotionally and mentally just draining and exhausting. But you know, I have an amazing team I work with and we try to keep things positive and hold each other up. Day in and day out we show up, we’re here, and providing world-class care to this patient population,” Dorner said in an interview with her high school alma mater.
Joining Dorner as another honorary captain at Super Bowl LV was Marine Corp veteran James Martin. He spent fifteen years in the marine before returning in 2013 from his final deployment. Shortly after, disks in his back fused together, making him paralyzed from the chest down. Doctors believed the injury was a result of Martin’s run-ins with explosives overseas.
Martin learned to walk again and fought to overcome his post-traumatic stress disorder. He now works with the Wounded Warrior Project and was chosen as a Super Bowl honoree for his work setting up live-streams for local high school sporting events, so parents could still see their children play during the pandemic. He also live-streams video games so he can connect with other veterans.
Martin walked out onto the field Sunday.
The final honoree Trimaine Davis is an L.A.-based educator who worked to ensure his students and their families had access to an internet connection and computers during long-distance learning. “I don’t want students to ever think because they don’t travel a traditional way that they won’t be able to achieve what they want to accomplish,” he told his local NBC affiliate.
“Chorus of the Captains” by Amanda Gorman
“Today we honor our three captains / for their actions and impact in / a time of uncertainty and need. / They’ve taken the lead / Exceeding all expectations and limitations / Uplifting their communities and neighbors / As leaders, healers, and educators.”
“James has felt the wounds of warfare / But this warrior still shares / his home with at-risk kids. / During Covid, his event lent a hand, / live-streaming football for family and fans.”
“Trimaine is an educator who works nonstop / Providing his community with hotspots, / Laptops, and tech workshops, / So his students have all the tools / they need to succeed in life and school.”
“Suzie is the ICU nurse manager at a Tampa Hospital. / Her chronicles prove that even in tragedy, hope is possible. / She lost her grandmothers to the pandemic, / And fights to save other lives in the ICU battle zone, / Defining the frontline heroes risking their lives for our own.”
“Let us walk with these warriors, / Charge on with these champions, / And carry forth the call of our captains! / We celebrate them by acting / With courage and compassion, / By doing what is right and just. / For while we honor them today, / it is them who every day honor us.”