Yadi Yadi Yadda
Friday, July 04, 2008
Happy Birthday America
I remember getting on a plane and wiggling my pinkie, the sign that meant that I was a worm. A worm was the name given to non-communist. At five years old I did not realize that my Uncle's broken body was left behind buried in some defeated battlefield. The price he and my family paid to defend their land from the communist regime. I did not realize that one of the men I would love most in this world would forever live scarred and broken, haunted my images he will never share with anyone. That's the Uncle that survived.
We were an average family, not rich in material things but very close and rich in family love.
Little did I know that I would be leaving behind my beloved grandmother, and aunts that adored me, and my cousins. This new life in this foreign land would almost cost my heartbroken mother her sanity. I once visited our local library, right here in Town and took my children to see the washed up rafts of the Cuban refugees. As I stared at those pitiful boards, I cried. Cried for the men who would rather drown in shark infested waters, rather than live one more day with a tyrant. Men that wanted to be free. My brother served in the United States Coast Guard and he has seen men that were out in the sun for so long that when they went to take off their shorts, the skin followed. Men that would rather be dead than to be told what to eat, wear and how to live. Communism is not pretty.
I remember as a child visiting the freedom building in Miami, the Ellis Island of many a Cuban refugee, the first stop to their new home, their new land. I remember going there with Mom and getting big giant cans of peanut butter. We had no idea what it was, because it didn't exist in our country. I remember seeing kids at school buy big giant pickles, I had no idea what they were eating, that did not exist in my country either. I've been called names, I've been judged, prejudiced against by a few. But yet I've been accepted and loved by the majority.
I remember embracing this country and melting into it. I remember in grade school singing; "Land where my father died, land of thy pilgrims pride," only to realize that my ancestors had not died here but 90 miles south of the FL keys.
America has been good to me. It is my land, my country. I owe her much. She spared me from ration lines, poverty, and deprivation. She gave me three brothers, four children and soon to be six grandchildren all born on her soil. She allowed me to become her citizen, something that was granted to me through privileged, not birth. I am so very proud to be an American, because I chose to be one. When our people hurt, I hurt with them. When our flag flies high, I swell with pride and admire it. When we are threatened, I am indignant. I love everything about her, and when it is the fourth of July, I celebrate. Happy Birthday, America, and Thanks :)