Here are the notes from my speech at the opening of the Branson Centennial Museum:
The novelist, poet and author of The Prophet, Khalil Gibran said, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
Gibran believed people could exercise mastery over their lives if they could find a sensible and sustainable way to live and think. His combination of spirituality and beauty has become known as Gibranism; and folks gathered here today are demonstrating how alive Gibranism is right here in Branson, Missouri.
The citizens and business people of Branson have pulled together and shown to all the attitude that Branson brings to life and the positive impact an optimistic mind can bring in a time of hardship.
It was the positivity and the fervent belief in endless possibilities of William Henry Lynch, Harold Bell Wright, Reuben Branson, and many others that led Branson on the path to become the world-renowned destination that it is today.
In the past 100-years, Branson, a town of just 10,000, has evolved and grown in spectacular ways. Once a small fishing and farming settlement, today Branson offers a vacation experience for any taste. It boasts countless recreational activities including ziplines, miles of hiking and biking, three lakes, 12 championship golf courses, a historic downtown, dozens of museums, and award-winning and family friendly attractions. The region’s 50 theaters play more than 100 live shows packed with music, comedy, acrobatics, magic and more. Today we welcome visitors on four-lane highways and daily non-stop air service from major hubs, a far cry from the horse-drawn carriage that brought us here today.
While many things have changed in Branson, many things have also stayed the same. For a century, Branson has held true to the values of its settlers. A welcoming spirit, tenacity to make it through tough times and a deep foundation of faith, paired with a heritage of craftsmanship and music, make Branson the unique destination it is today.
It is the help of many, during Branson’s 100 year journey, which has brought us to the present and to the fruition of this museum. It truly has been a labor of love for several people and organizations, including the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Branson, The Downtown Branson Mainstreet Association, the White River Valley Historical Society, and the business men and women who have helped this city become synonymous with family entertainment, live music, fellowship and down-home fun.
The Branson Centennial Museum will honor the history of Branson and will be a stop on the itineraries of visitors; it should also be included as a regular stop for the residents of Branson and the Tri-Lakes area. It’s a reminder of the hard work and dedication of Branson’s founders, as well as a history lesson to share with the future leaders of the community.
Thank you Branson for being the Welcome Center of Missouri for the past 100 years; here is to another Century of greeting visitors with open arms and friendly smiles.