Friday, May 15, 2009

Welcome: Portraits of America (Feel Good Friday)

The above video "Welcome: Portraits of America" plays at the Houston airport's international port of entry, where they check your passport and visa. I had the privilege of watching it upon my return from some trips to Latin America last year. So much optimism, so much beauty, such an inspiring picture of an America that welcomes you.

For the full impact, watch the whole thing. If you are interested in more, watch the making-of video. At the end of this post, I've linked to and excerpted from the press release from the video's debut in 2007.

(Consistent with a "Feel Good Friday" post, let's not dwell on the frustrations of post-9/11 travel. Penn & Teller do have an interesting take, though.)

From the 2007 press release announcing "Welcome: Portraits of America":
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in partnership with U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State, recently premiered “Welcome: Portraits of America,” a multi-media initiative to welcome international visitors to the United States. The donation from Disney included a seven-minute film and hundreds of still images, featuring American people from all regions and walks of life.

Disney commissioned the project as part of the Rice-Chertoff Initiative that seeks to secure America’s borders while welcoming legitimate visitors to the United States.

Customs and Border Protection is working with the State Department, federal partners and major airports to create standards that ensure passengers entering the United States experience a process that is welcoming, understandable, respectful, time-efficient and less stressful.


Disney’s gracious donation of the multimedia “Portraits of America” is a leap forward in depicting images of America that will welcome arriving visitors and resonate deeply with citizens returning to their nation while creating a warm welcome to visitors. It is a special gift to these travelers that Disney’s images will be featured in International Arrivals areas, U.S. embassies, and other opportunities to welcome visitors to our nation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to encourage legitimate travel, and to serve as a welcoming face to those who visit.

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