Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two Things Challenge: National/International


This is a bit of Czech crystal that has been passed down through our family. My dad was born in Czechoslovakia, raised mainly in Italy, lived in England, and finally ended up in the U.S. becoming a citizen of this country. He truly represents the idea of "international" and I, being a first generation American, represent "national." Here are his feelings on inauguration day:


I am an immigrant. Nearly 53 years ago, when I was 19, I left my continent, my country, my city, my friends and family, and my way of life for a journey into the unknown. It was not easy. Since then, I have made my way in the new home, not brilliantly but, I hope, with honor and with harm to no one.

Over the years, I have often been a severe critic of this country, wondering whether perhaps I should not move elsewhere, maybe New Zealand, or Chile, or Canada. The country's actions and attitudes and, it seemed, core values were simply beyond tolerance.

No more. Now, in the midst of a catastrophic economic crisis, I have seen nearly 2 million people of all races and faiths, among them a 105-year-old woman, make a pilgrimage to their city, Washington, in many cases traveling thousands of miles, there to fight traffic and checkpoints and crowds in the bone-chilling pre-dawn darkness, all in order to stand for hours on end in the bitter cold, with good humor, peace, and tears of joy, to witness history in the making, to greet their new President, whose very presence on the steps of the Capitol was so improbable as to defy belief. For me, these actions by ordinary people have amply overwritten those of politicians and corporations driven by partisanship, stupidity and greed.

So now it is time to say: only in America could such a thing happen. Only in America could one witness such an outpouring of enthusiasm, such commitment, such a desire to pick ones self up and start anew, such an ability to reinvent not only ones self but truly the country as a whole. There is hope again.

It is also time for me to say, with tears in my eyes: I am proud to be an American at last. I have come home.

15 comments:

Rachel said...

Your Dad's comments have me all verklempt. Thank you for sharing this.

Tash said...

BEAUTIFUL photograph of such a lovely piece of art and tradition. And your dad's words are so touching, I am teary-eyed - it's very kind of you to share his feelings with us.

D.C. Confidential said...

I love this entry. It's perfect. And seriously, your dad should write a book.

Maya said...

rachel: Me too!

tash: Thanks! I love this crystal and my dad's words made me teary-eyed too.

dc: Yes, he probably should!

Dusty Lens said...

love the image, so pretty. Probably the perfect 2 Things Challenge entry!

Chuck Pefley said...

I'd like very much to meet your father. His is an remarkably poignant and meaningful tribute to the changes we are all witnessing in our country. Thanks, Maya, for sharing his words with us.

Eeyore said...

Can't get much better than that.

Maya said...

dusty: Thanks!

Chuck: Maybe you can meet him someday! I'm glad you appreciated his words. They bring tears to my eyes every time I read them.

Eeyore: I'm glad you liked the entry!

dysmindseye said...

Maya, Just when I thought I had run out of tears of joy, you have to direct me to THIS! My eyes are going all puffy again!

I love Ivo! Be sure to tell him I said so! I miss him and your mom, too!

xoxo ~ Dy

Maya said...

dy: He is reading these comments, so you've told him yourself! :-)

Sherry said...

Maya, that made me cry!

OMG, what a beautiful beautiful perspective. thank you for sharing this..

Maya said...

sherry: Your welcome!

Sally said...

Yes, a great testament to what is great about both the US and Australia - the richness of diversity.

JM said...

I came to this blog through Sherry's Mukilteo's Daily View and I'm glad I did!
Although I'm not an american, I find your quote wonderful, very moving and I think I can truly understand your father's feelings. I'm also full of hope and feel proud for you too now!
Beautiful choice on the photo.

Maya said...

sally: I would love to visit Autstralia someday and see for myself!

JM: Welcome! I'm glad you liked it.