For one man, the path started with a candy bar.
One woman wanted to choose the man she would marry.
For another, it started with her family's epic journey 500 years ago.
They came to Vancouver.
Their stories came together on a recent Friday in a cluster of events, including two simultaneous community celebrations.
As keynote speaker Elie Kassab welcomed 29 newly naturalized citizens, the Vancouver businessman recalled the moment in 1958 when he knew he wanted to go to the United States.
As reporter Stephanie Rice wrote, his family went to see a fleet of U.S. Navy ships that had arrived in Beirut, Lebanon. A U.S. Marine handed the 7-year-old boy a candy bar. On the way home, Kassab looked back at the ships and admired a red, white and blue flag. At that moment, his dream to come to America was born, Kassab told the crowd at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
At the same time, another group gathered at the Remembrance Wall mural gallery. Veterans of overseas wars, or their family members, had a chance to inscribe their names on a mural panel.
A woman wanted to have the name of her husband, who died in 2001, on the panel. They'd met in college, she said. He was a veteran of combat in the Pacific; she came to the U.S. from India, where her future would have included an arranged marriage.
On that same Friday, Diana Golden suffered a heart attack; she died two days later. Her path here included the Greek island of Rhodes, where she grew up, and the Auschwitz concentration camp, where several family members died. In a 2006 story, Golden told The Columbian that she grew up speaking Spanish -- the result of an earlier family transition.
"The family had been ejected from Spain in the 1490s," Golden said.
Ferdinand and Isabella issued their edict expelling Jews from Spain in 1492 … the same year they sent another traveler off on his journey here.
Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.