The first time Norway's King Harald visited Decorah, it was in 1965 and he was a prince, not a king. Nevertheless, Luther College Board of Regents Chair Paula Meyer noted Harald "stole all the hearts of the coeds."
He hasn't lost his touch.
Returning to Decorah for the third time on Thursday, King Harald delivered a speech at Luther College that was emotional and inspirational. He noted the terrorist bombings in Norway on July 22nd and told the Luther audience, "I would like to thank you for your support during those trying times." He noted the common bonds between Norway and the United States, such as the countries' work for peace, justice and human rights. "In a globalized world, we need each other in our struggle for peace," he said.
The King brought laughs from the audience when he stated that the immigrants brought their Norwegian traditions with them when they came to America, then added "that's more obvious in a place like Decorah."
Earlier, Luther College president Rick Torgerson had expressed the college's "joy" at having the KIng on hand to help celebrate the college's 150th anniversary. In presenting a "Spirit of Luther Award" to the King and Queen, Torgerson told the couple that they "stand for the spirit of Norway."