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!
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.