Hannibal Courier-Post: CNN Reporter: Hannibal is most certainly America’s Hometown

By DANNY HENLEY

HANNIBAL, MO (Hannibal Courier-Post)

NealHannibalIt is not uncommon for visitors to Hannibal to leave with tales to share. Neal Moore will be no different, only his stories may reach an international audience.

Moore, who describes himself as an unpaid “citizen journalist” for the Cable News Network (CNN), is wrapping up a brief visit after arriving via canoe earlier this week. Moore’s stop in Hannibal is part of a five-month trek down the Mississippi River, which he anticipates will end in early December when he reaches New Orleans. Moore admits that Hannibal is a destination he’s been looking forward to reaching for years.

“I’ve read about and dreamed about the Mississippi River, and of course Hannibal, Mo., my entire life,” he said.

Wherever Moore paddles ashore it’s with the objective of finding “straight, positive, American” stories.

“With these stories coming down the river, really the backdrop is the economy. But instead of going straight for that I’m highlighting different ways that communities are rallying together. Whether they’re rallying around fighting cancer or a living legacy of somebody like Mark Twain or like Charles Lindbergh in Little Falls, Minn., folks rally around a cause in these trying times. You find people stand up and help each other out and it’s inspiring, not only for the town itself, but for everyone who can actually see that story.”

In Hannibal, Moore has had no trouble coming up with stories to tell.
“There’s too many stories here. It’s the kind of town you could spend a lifetime in and you would never run out of stories. It’s obvious, you take one look at the town and citizenry and you can see these are real people. They have ups, they have downs and it’s very positive right now,” he said.

Moore’s impressions of Hannibal are varied.

“It’s a very eclectic community, rough and tumble. I’ve heard that expression a few times. You have to be rough and tumble in a port city like this going back to Sam Clemens’ time,” he said. “You have that aspect. You also have the artists and sort of the melting pot right here downtown with the reconstruction of downtown Hannibal with the excitement in the air, folks coming together and putting their best foot forward.”

Although a world traveler, Moore confesses that he was anxious to begin his trip down the middle of America.

“The biggest surprise is just really how wonderful a trip like this is,” he said. “I’ve been around the world several times, but really I’m more excited about this trip … this adventure than I have been about anything in my life. Part of it is the nature. Part of it is these small towns, these big cities and the challenge of the story as well and to chase these stories and find new stories, and really highlight America for myself and my own life, but also for an American audience and potential international audience via CNN.”

As much as Moore looked forward to the trip, he acknowledges it also represents a personal challenge.

“The whole idea for my trip is to take myself out of my comfort zone. By doing that you open yourself up to incredible things – good, bad, ugly and the positive as well, and that’s when you grow and you learn,” he said. “To actually come down for the very first time and touch it in this way via canoe, it’s a perfect mode of transport. It’s America at her finest and this town is most certainly America’s Hometown.”

Photo by Danny Henley. Visit the Hannibal Courier-Post HERE.

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1 Comment

Filed under Americana, In the News, Mississippi River Town

One response to “Hannibal Courier-Post: CNN Reporter: Hannibal is most certainly America’s Hometown

  1. Lori Kuehl

    Neal,
    just heard about your visit and stay in Giard. I also live in that peaceful little town, just down the only street form Greg and Kathy. My backyard fence is also their pasture fence. We get a awesome view from our backyard of Greg’s land and animals. I understand you are interested in a little History of Basil Giard. I wish I would of known this sooner. I have a book entitled ” Giard’s First Hundred Years 1871 -1971″ Has lots of very interesting reading and pictures, and info on Basil. The author is Melvin Beimfohr if that helps any. Anthing I can do to help you in your quest, let me know, I’d love to help. Your trip sounds like alot of fun.

    Lori Kuehl

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