DUANE IN NEW YORK Ellis Island 14-15 July 2010

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Details at National Park website here

Full video of the dedication ceremony here

Here's Deed's account - courtesy Deed Eddy Gretsch Pages Forum

We were in New York for less than 24 hours, but it surely seemed to us that we must have been there three or four days. I wish you all had been able to be there at Ellis Island with us, and if you ever get the opportunity to go there, please do. You will never forget what you see and hear.

The trip came up rather suddenly and I didn't say anything about it here until the Ellis Island Foundation and National Park Service had made their announcements. Duane had been asked by Rick Stocks, whose company had the guitar built by Mike McGuire and his team at the Custom Shop, to come to New York and present the guitar. We made our plans then and there.

I was sure that we were going to make the national news on the day we left. Our plane took off from Nashville at 7:10 in the morning, a direct hour and forty minute flight to New York. We're happily flying along, and an announcement was made which was not very clear, but the word "descend" was mentioned. And "divert". Great.

The next thing we know, we're sitting on the tarmac at an airport, somewhere. A friend traveling with us, who has a distinct South African accent, said, "We've been diverted to Dallas". Dallas! That's way in the wrong direction..."No, no we're at Dulles, just outside Washington D.C." Oh, ok then. The flight attendant clicks the mike and says, "Welcome to NOT LaGuardia Airport". Hilarious. (She'll be here all week.)

To make a long story longer, we sat for an hour...apparently the weather was horrific in New York and LaGuardia was closed until further notice. We waited and the word finally came, we're on our way. Out to the runway taking our place in line, but then nooo, we get the word that it'll be another hour before takeoff. Now we're heading back to the gate, as the new law says that they can only hold you captive for two hours then they must let folks off if they are so desiring (or totally freaking out which was about to start happening any moment). So anyway...we spent six hours on that plane by the time we finally landed in New York. The magic of air travel.

Speaking of magic, there is nothing like New York City. I don't care how many times I've been there, it's always stunning. So full of life, great food, beautiful architecture, and the people are unique as the city itself. New Yooawk! We had dinner at Delmonico's, one of America's oldest established restraunts, and we were done for the day. Walking back to our hotel, to see the city at night, makes you believe every word Frank Sinatra sings about that town.

The next morning we walked over to the office of The Ellis Island Foundation, and met Steve Briganti, CEO of the organization. Founded by Lee Iaocca, at the request of Ronald Reagan, the foundation raised millions of dollars to help restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which were both in terrible need of repair. Starting in 1984, Ellis Island underwent a major restoration, the largest historic restoration in U.S. history. The $160 million dollar project was funded by donations made to The Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the National Park Service. Not Federal money, donations from you and me. Regular folks wanting to help preserve two of our most precious symbols of what this country is about.

Seven of us jumped on the Park Service boat to take us across to Ellis. It was rainy and grey, the waters were choppy and the sky was getting darker. But the view was heartstopping... the weather didn't matter.

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