They're coming to America
Never looking back again
They're coming to America"
Last night I was able to take one small item off my bucket list...I FINALLY went to a Neil Diamond concert. We are music lovers and have gone to a variety of concerts in our lives together, but Arthur has never been a big Neil Diamond fan. This Hanukkah he got me tickets to last night's concert. Wow! The man is 76 years old, and his voice sounds like it did when he was 26. He stood on that stage for two hours straight, and although he started to wind down physically, when I closed my eyes he was a young man again.
As always, his songs brought back memories and kept me moving...several hours of almost "politics free" entertainment. Then he sang one of his biggest hits...America. I listened to the words and remembered the intense pride that I felt the first time I heard it. To be lucky enough to live in a country that beckons the world with its opened arms and acceptance of all was a gift I would never take for granted.
We've been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star
Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream"
No one chooses to leave his/her home and family/friends on a whim. No one decides to climb aboard an overcrowded vessel and travel without sufficient food and water because he/she thinks change might be nice. They leave everything familiar and come to a place where no one speaks their language, and they attempt to build a life without persecution. Men and women who were physicians in their home countries become janitors in America, so that their children can grow up free. They work for $2.00 an hour here, to avoid war and famine in the place they grew up and love.
For years our arms opened wide and comforted them. We showed them that America will always welcome those "huddled masses yearning to be free." Some took advantage of us, but most thanked us by becoming productive citizens who helped strengthen our country. My pride in this aspect of our country never wavered. I always believed that there needs to be control over illegal immigration and consequences for breaking the law, but never at the expense of what makes us great. Never should we make those in need fear us! NEVER should we build walls.
I read the newspaper each day and think that this must be a phase that will soon stop. Our politicians will find a way to curb illegal immigration while maintaining the kindness and dignity we have been known to show. They will not allow us to find scapegoats in the very people who need us most. They will remember what America stands for and help her continue to shine a welcoming light.
"My country 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing
Of thee I sing
With today's headlines screaming about illegal immigrants, I thought that I needed a bit of perspective. Author Helen Thorpe's book, Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America, gives the reader a look into the lives of undocumented youths. These four young women, brought into our country as small children, had little control over their fate. As teens, two have documents and two do not. No matter which side of the immigration issue you believe in, Thorpe's book will tug at your heartstrings as you follow these young women.
Another book that pulled at those heartstrings was a compilation of letters written by five authors entitled Letters Never Meant to be Read. The authors took the opportunity to pour their hearts and souls into the letters they wrote, and I found the book both very disturbing and very enjoyable.
As always complete reviews of these books follow this blog.