The Great Platte River Road Arch and Monument, new citizens and an old woman

Yesterday was a long but joyful day. Joan and I traveled two and half hours to the west so I could conduct a naturalization ceremony at the Great Platte River Road Arch and Monument. That amazing structure spans Interstate 80 with cars and truck passing under it. Inside, the Arch provides a wide array educational materials about the pioneers who passed near the Platte as they drove their wagons to a new and unsettled land. It is a great place to hold a naturalization ceremony since it celebrates, among other things, the many immigrant pioneers that made up the westward expansion of this nation.

The 79 individuals naturalized yesterday originally came from 25 countries: Benin, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Iraq, Liberia, Macedonia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam. I gave a brief speech about how we are blessed by immigration, and thanked our new citizens for coming. They were all happy and proud. I met each new citizen, and was privileged to hand them their naturalization certificates.

Joan and I ended our journey at a nice Mexican restaurant back in Lincoln. Great food, and excellent margaritas.

Oh, before I forget, yesterday was our wedding anniversary. The old woman never looked so good!

Photos follow:

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This requires a bit of explanation. it is an iconic structure by the highly regarded sculptor John Raimondi. It was placed at a rest stop near Grand Island as a part of the Bicentennial of our country.       It is intended to remind us of the struggles and aspirations of pioneer women. I just love it, and had to stop to see Erma once again as we made our way back to   Lincoln.

Entitled Erma’s Desire, this is an iconic structure by the highly regarded sculptor John Raimondi. It was placed at a rest stop near Grand Island as a part of the celebration of the Bicentennial of our country. It is intended to remind us of the struggles and aspirations of pioneer women as they traversed the Great Platte River Road. I just love it, and had to stop to see Erma once again as we made our way back to Lincoln.

 

RGK

9 responses

  1. Great pictures, judge. On a Nebraska-related note, I’ve been meaning to ask for a while — do you have a strong opinion on Springsteen and his iconic album named after your state?

  2. Heading west myself this morning for some justice in Dawson County. Enjoy coming out here great scenery and better people. Sadly i’m not going to have time to use the fishing pole i have in the back.

  3. Korey, my old law partner Jim Doyle is the district judge and he lives in Lex. Say hi to him if you see him.

    All the best.

    RGK

  4. It is obvious that you enjoy naturalization ceremonies, Judge. I’m sure that enthusiasm rubs off on our new citizens. Happy Anniversary!

  5. What a glorious day for you and Joan. Happy Anniversary. The photos and your description of the naturalization ceremony movingly show that the citizenship proceeding must be among the most rewarding and memorable of the duties and privileges for a federal judge. I am sure all that attended appreciated your presiding over that ceremony. Congratulations.

  6. Judge:
    Am I correct in assuming that the Great Platte River Road Arch and Monument is also featured at the end of the movie “About Schmidt?”
    Robert

  7. Robert,

    Yes, you have a great memory for a great movie. Speaking of trivia, my colleague (now dead) Bill Cambridge appeared with his wife in the retirement dinner scene.

    All the best.

    RGK

  8. It is good to see some scenes that are quite familiar from my own days spent “out west”. I recall that “Erma’s Desire” was used as a prime example by opponents of the Interstate rest area art pieces that were placed back in 1976, who claimed that such things were not “art” and an embarrassment to common, ordinary Nebraskans. Like you, I’ve always liked good old “Erma” and have stopped at that rest area many times and enjoyed one of the characters in the great art debate along I-80. As you well know, in more recent times the Archway has generated its own brand of controversy. Bottom line, I prefer Erma. The Arch? Meh . . . . . . It’s okay.

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