The music vamping in the leadup to the Naturalization Ceremony at St Paul MN’s Landmark Center had strains of London’s choice of podium music (Vangelis’s Chariots of Fire) for the 2012 Olympics … uplifting, inspiring, paying homage to success.

An apt metaphor for the 208 new citizens from 53 countries gathered together as one to take the Pledge of Allegiance and hear that oft-sung anthem ‘Proud to be an American‘ … reassurance, too, from presiding Magistrate Judge Jeanne J. Graham U.S. DC that being an American doesn’t mean denying your past: “the best of your culture is the best of ours”.

Amidst the pomp and emotion it’s easy to forget a few home truths — not least that America continues to choke off the flow of talented scientists and entrepreneurs by making immigration more difficult (why not stamp a Green Card to all who come here for Higher Education?), while major companies have been encouraged to move offshore so that IBM and General Electric now employ more people overseas than they do in the U.S.

That last point is timely given our visit earlier Wednesday to the world’s largest medical device company Medtronic.

Its CEO Omar Ishrak hails from Bangladesh (nabbed by MDT in June 2011 from G.E. so bucking the abovementioned trend) but it’s just the second time in the company’s near 65-year history a complete outsider has taken over the reins — and Ishrak becomes the only non-Caucasian CEO among his counterparts at 19 other Fortune 500 companies that call Minnesota home ( 

“O’er the land of the free … and the home of the ‘select’ brave”.