Today, only faded photographs and second-generation memories remain from that period in American history. International travel has become commonplace for many, with the speed and convenience of air travel making it that much harder to appreciate the true Ellis Island immigrant experience. By any measure, processing this many passengers through a single port, in a single day was an astounding acomplishment — especially with so much at stake for each arrival.

One word often associated with the immigrant experience is sacrifice. From an immigration perspective, few would know the meaning of that word better than a young family from the Netherlands who arrived through New York harbor in March 1907. Through a series of events, Evert Jan Natte and his wife Cato would have a front-row seat throughout April 1907 and become part of American immigration history.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation will celebrate this centennial by holding its 6th Annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards. These awards will honor three outstanding Americans with roots to Ellis Island: Mike ("Coach K") Krzyzewski in Sports, Bill Novelli in Public Service, and John Mack in Business. The Peopling of America Award, honoring an immigrant from another time period or different port of entry, will salute fashion entrepreneur Josie Natori.