True, the event was several weeks ago, but if you haven't seen these video highlights yet, they're worth watching. I wrote about the annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards as a useful reminder of the American Dream, and an article about Annie Moore (by Jesse Green, published in New York Magazine yesterday), brought me back to the same thoughts.
Annie was the first immigrant to arrive at Ellis Island and has consequently become something of a poster child for the immigrant saga, that most vital of chapters found in so many of our family histories. Her story, just like those of this year's awardees Bruce Springsteen, Dikembe Mutombo, Peter G. Peterson and Andrea Jung, is compelling and ultimately triumphant -- even if in a decidedly non-Hollywood kind of way. I suppose it's both ironic and fitting that some of Annie's descendants now reside in Arizona. Much has changed since 1892 as she arrived here legally, but without the need to show identification. Still, the promise of the American Dream remains.
If you've got a few minutes to spare, I invite you to watch both videos -- the first showing highlights of the whole event and the second featuring the entirety of Bruce Springsteen's remarks including a note of welcome to today's immigrants (as well as an appearance by his delightful mother and aunts). My guess is that you'll recognize your own family in the stories you'll hear.