Words by Chris Fuchs

PROMONTORY, Utah — Railroad descendants, history buffs, dignitaries and elected officials were among the thousands gathered Friday in Promontory, northwest of Salt Lake City, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. 

Friday’s anniversary ceremony strove for inclusiveness, billed by organizers as an effort to tell the “whole story” of the railroad that transformed America and those who made that happen.

Friday’s commemoration, which officials said drew an estimated 20,000, contrasted from the one held in Promontory in 1969 for the 100th anniversary celebration, when nothing more than a "passing mention of the Chinese" was made. 

This time around, Yu, whose great-grandfather was a foreman for the Central Pacific Railroad Company, was invited to take the stage at the very beginning of the ceremony and set things straight.

“We take this opportunity at the 150th to reclaim our place in history,” Yu said.

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