Muscatine prepares to meet China’s vice president

A special reunion is ready to take place in Muscatine on Wednesday. That’s when China’s future president comes to visit.

In this case, old friends will form a new bond.

This reunion of old friends will be quite the event in Muscatine. Media crews from China and the U.S. capture the moment. Back together for the first time since 1985, they hosted Xi Jinping’s first visit to Iowa.

“We were amazed and honored when we heard that Vice President Xi had chosen to come back here,” said Joni Axel, who helped to coordinate his tour back then.

The welcome banner is up outside Roger and Sarah Lande’s home. That’s where the Chinese vice president will greet old friends for a second time. It’s a private reception that puts Muscatine into the international spotlight.

“It’s always good to be friendly and open to people because you just never know in the future what consequences it’s going to have,” said Vince Lawson, who hosted the delegation when they toured Iowa State’s agriculture research farm in 1985.

Muscatine will make the most of its moment. That’s the case inside the Muscatine Computer Store. It’s where owner Jim Sichterman reflects on community pride.

“We can make an impact in the world,” he said. “It a small way, it could become something big.”

At Muscatine City Hall, there’s a second proclamation and key to the city. That’s a first for Muscatine.

“This is just the ultimate in friendly gestures,” said Muscatine Mayor DeWayne Hopkins. “This isn’t about economics, education or agriculture. This is about friendship.”

Through the snapshots and memories from 1985, this old friendship picks up right where it left off 27 years ago.

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