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Famous bald eagle
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Dear Editor,
On Aug. 20, I had my car packed and left Esbon to make my way to Hastings College at Hastings, Neb. The city of Hastings was the town my great-grandparents George White and Clarissa Jane Williams got married in the year 1890, some 126 years ago. I’ve been there countless times. I have done my shopping there in Hastings.
The famous bald eagle “Challenger” was the “magnet” that made me say “yes” to doing the trip. The eagle was orphaned in Louisiana in 1989 and had so much contact with its human handlers that it cannot be released back into ‘The Wild’. The Hastings Symphony played The National Anthem. Expert handlers, with gloved forearms hold the beautiful bird until the ending phrases. A handler releases it to fly overhead the crowd at the verse “Home of the Free”...and it is retrieved a long distance away by another handler after the completion of “Home of the Brave.” Truly majestic.
The Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, gave remarks that young people want communities with “a good quality-of-life” meaning good access to stores, churches/synagogues (if applicable), restaurants, entertainment, night-life, hospitals for newborn babies as well as elder care. The Governor said that factor alone can be a pivotal factor whether a young person remains in his/her home town or home state
I know Gov. Ricketts. He and I both were invested with a papal knighthood, Knight of the Holy Sepulchre from the Vatican. My retired Archbishop of Kansas City, the Most Rev. James Patrick Keleher, installed me in the year 1998. The Jackson Tinsdale Art Center was named after an art student who died far too young. The young man’s parents donated $5 million for the construction of the building that bears his name. The President of the College awarded a posthumous Bachelor of Arts Degree (which was accepted by his parents). I’ve seen honorary doctorates presented before, but never an honorary Bachelor’s Degree. Upon conclusion, I toured the Center, it is really wonderful. Gov. Ricketts and I shook hands, since he and I have known each other for awhile. I was also pleased to shake hands with his predecessor, Gov. Dave Heineman, who I consider a long-time friend as well.
“Art” can truly inspire. I am glad that central and western Nebraska is remembered by its state governmental heads. I only wish the leaders of Kansas could do as well. In many ways, bringing in a nationally-known bald eagle as an ambassador did wonders to elevate spirits that day. Kansas could learn from that. Events which spawn “interest” combined with education plus tourism are a boon to any state as well as neighboring states.
James A. Marples