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Saturday, July 03, 2010

My Grandparents - Independence Day in New York Harbor

It was 1913 when a young married couple named Alessandra Dini and Eugenio Anselmi arrived in New York Harbor as Italian immigrants. They left their beautiful home in Tuscany, Italy, to start a new life in America.

They raised four daughters (the oldest was my mother Elda) and grew a small grocery business in Monesson, Pennsylvania while Eugenio prepared for his US citizenship swearing in.

Several years after establishing themselves in Pennsylvania, they sent for their only son, who was back in Italy, to join them.

Although the Anselmi family experienced many hardships, they never looked back. American was their home. They were Italian Americans.

Today, many ill informed people are making it increasingly difficult for young immigrants to reach the same American dream my grand parents worked hard to achieve. Regardless of a person's citizenship status, an immigrant's life is never easy. They are sad about the life left behind, even if they are refugees. Yet, the tide of anti-immigration rising among some Americans is making the transition from immigrant to citizen more difficult than ever before.

Every single American is a descendant of an immigrant. We should honor the brave people who came before us to blaze the democratic road to our economic and social freedoms.

Instead, an anti-immigration movement is rooting itself in the hearts and minds of some people who simply forget where their own ancestry came from. These hypocritical people are likely unable to pass the same citizenship history tests given to newly sworn in American citizens. In fact, a recent survey by the Marist College in New York reported that 25 percent of those interviewed did not even know what country Americans fought to achieve our independence.

"....a new poll suggests more than 1 in 4 Americans don't know which country America declared its independence from. According to a new survey from Marist College, 26 percent failed to correctly identify Great Britain as the country the United States fought an eight-year war with to gain its independence."

As Americans celebrate our heritage, freedom and security from wants, we must also honor those who made the sacrifices we appreciate and remember on July 4th - Independence Day.  

To do otherwise is to denigrate the very occasion we joyously salute with fireworks, parades, and decorative bunting topped by flags and highlighted by sparklers. Let's always remember where we came from.

My grandmother Alesandra Dini Anselmi loved the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor because she knew it was a symbol of all the freedoms America stands for. 

God Bless America.



Blogger Juliana Maine Writer said...

Post from Old Scold in Virginia: "First, I believe that we should have immigration laws that should be enforced. Second, those railing against the twelve million illegals in our midst based on their own ancestors abiding by the laws when entering the country are way off base with their declarations. Going back even to the Native Americans who crossed the Bering land bridge, most of today’s citizens simply came and squatted, abiding by and restricted by no laws at all.
Rules and laws came after millions of those who are ancestors to the vast majority of us had already entered, and many of those laws came to limit who might enter. Southern and Eastern Europeans, Asians and Africans were hardly welcome. Times change and we need to manage an almost fully developed continental nation, but the millions of those among us here illegally came because there was still unfilled opportunity. There were jobs to be filled and most were short of applicants.

Anyone who has eaten at an upscale urban restaurant or stayed in a modern hotel or motel over the past several decades has to be aware that the service was provided by immigrants, many of them illegal. We needed them and they came and created lives for themselves and their citizen offspring.

Now we face bad times, truly, and it’s unfortunate but such times create a need for scapegoats. In the worldwide Great Depression of the thirties it was the Jews who bore the brunt. Today, it is those from south of our border who are seen as causing much of our difficulty.

But despite the bad times, The United States among the developed countries stands out as the most dynamic. Japan and the European states face sociological problems far more difficult than our own. Why? Because aging and brittle populations are unable to replace themselves as their workforce problems worsen.

Certainly, much adjustment must be made, and we must gain control of who can come and who can stay, but we must not be blinded by hysteria that draconian measures against one class of people will solve all of our problems and recreate a nation that really never was."

(Thanks to Old Scold for this thoughtful response.)

7:56 AM  

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