Today’s Des Moines Register reminded me of what a melting pot America continues to be.
The front page centerpiece by Reid Forgrave told of the reunion of brothers who had fled Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. One of the brothers, a former Hussein bodyguard, had waited 17 years to be reunited with his younger brother.
Many people unfamiliar with the Midwest in general and Iowa in particular may be surprised to know that the area is not exclusively populated by farmers and assorted bucolic characters. In fact, Iowans eagerly opened their doors to Asian refugees over 30 years ago at a time when much of the nation was still feeling the sting of our prolonged sad involvement in Vietnam. Des Moines has an ever-growing Latino, Asian and Bosnian community.
Decades earlier it was the promise of the United States that lured my then 21-year-old grandfather to its shores. I’ve always regretted not asking him directly why he left his comfortable life as a cabinetmaker in Denmark for the uncertainty of life here.
That's him in the photo, clowning around in front of one of the grandfather clocks he built for family members.
Do you know why your foreign-born ancestors rolled the dice to make the often arduous journey to this land? This is a question worth pondering as you preserve your own family history.
One lucky World War II veteran from Central Iowa will receive a free video biography from my friend, John Windschitl, aka That Video Guy. John has recently started his own videography business after many years of learning his craft while working in television and the corporate world.
John and I are looking forward to working together on a combined video-written biography project, but this offer is for a video only. If you live in Central Iowa and know of someone you would like to be considered for the free video, send John an e-mail or call him at (515) 664-7409. Make sure you tell him why this person is a worthy candidate. Deadline is Oct. 12.
It’s been many, many years since I concluded my formal education. This weekend I’m returning to my collegiate alma mater for my first homecoming. So, if you’re a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (or its predecessor, Omaha University) and plan to be at Saturday’s picnic or football game, look me up. I’m always glad to meet UNO grads and readers of my blog.