Two males arrived (legally) in this country many years ago.

One was brought here as a toddler by his parents in 1888. Ellis Island was not processing immigrants at that time, so no record of his arrival exists.

The other arrived in 1918, processed at Ellis Island and was listed in the ship’s manifest as a single, 18-year old man.

The 18-year old came here looking for an opportunity – not entitlements. The toddler had no voice in the move.

New arrivals at the time sought the company of fellow immigrants and settled near them.

A common language bonded them, but they soon learned and adopted English and the culture here.

One settled in a metropolitan city, Chicago, and became a tool and die maker.

The other grew up in the Midwest on a small farm, where he and his siblings took up farming along with their father.

They found brides to whom they stayed married all their lives, had children who grew up to be useful citizens, just as they were. Their sons and daughters loved them dearly and respected them. They were successful in their chosen fields of work.

They grew up during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s but did not have to experience that hardship personally.The Depression. Also wars, in which their ages precluded their service.

Neither brought fame or shame to their good name. Their names did not ever appear on a police blotter. The same is true of their offspring. They lived and died with no public note, other than obituaries in local newspapers.

Their lives may be described as ordinary. One might also say they were fortunate. They brought their offspring up well, instilling in them a Puritan work ethic.

Take these two men and multiply them by the millions who have immigrated to this country and you have what is the bedrock of our population that makes it the great country that it is.

If we build a wall to keep out those who come here illegally thinking it is a land of milk and honey, that seems fair to me. At least we don’t have to build walls to keep people here.

To paraphrase an old saying, “Immigration is the sincerest form of flattery.”

By the way, those two male immigrants I mentioned above?

I’m proud to say they were my father-in-law and my father.

 

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