On this 4th of July

On this 4th of July

I am the first American born person in my family. That is a badge of honor I carry with me as part of my identity.

These days it is also a reminder, in the current political climate that I am a child of immigrants.

Why did my family chose to come to this country? For the same reason everyone comes–America is the best country in the world!

It does not matter what country my parents are from but it is important to note that the United States did not have to accept them and it did.

The United States took in my family because my family did it right.

They applied properly for asylum, my family worked hard and sacrificed to save the money needed for the fees and my family followed all the steps required of them to be accepted as citizens of this great country.

Even before their citizenship was granted they began to assimilate. They learned the language, they learned the laws, they filed and paid their taxes.

My family did not lose their culture or their traditions–we still follow them as part of the melting pot that is this great nation.

As a family we embraced the new culture of being American–which means to embrace other cultures together under one vision of freedom under the one flag that unites us all.

My family did not come here to recreate the old country. They came here to start a new chapter.

And each family member that chose to come here, accepted the rights gratefully and share in the responsibilities that make this country so strong.

We vote, we serve on juries without complaining, several members of my family have served in the armed forces defending our rights, including my dad.

Those first brave family members, my parents, that came here were not sure they would be granted citizenship but they went through the process in hopes that it would be so.

They did not come to this country expecting to be taken care of, and demanding rights they did not have as non citizens in order to coerce the government to accept them.

They also have never supported politicians that were offering the handout in exchange for their vote–they knew these were the people that can ruin a country.

In this heated climate over immigration today we should remember that if things are done right–by the people seeking citizenship–not the politicians, there would not be a debate raging.

On this 4th of July I am thankful for this country, its strength and its values! I am thankful that we can help others but that we are intelligent enough to help ourselves first.

On this 4th of July I acknowledge that without our strength, our stability and our moral compass, we would not be able to help the rest of the world.

On this 4th of July I want to share with you that we are looking at things the wrong way–immigration is not a problem–it is an opportunity!

God Bless America!!!

 

 

My President on President’s Day

My President on President’s Day

Today is President’s Day and the History Teacher in me has a few things to say.

Back in the 70s when in elementary school we the students would commemorate Presidents day by making paper plate President’s faces. We would attach a popsicle stick and hold them up in front of our faces.

We students had no idea what a President was back then–but we knew he must be important because the only other faces we put on paper plates were Jesus and Santa Claus. Very important folks to the little ones.

In the late 70s and early 80s we students in middle school, recited parts of important speeches–primarily by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

We students knew that the President was the leader of our country, that he had tremendous responsibilities and pressures and that some were better than others.  We understood that the Office of the President was an important and sacred one.

By the mid to late 80s we students in high school celebrating President’s Day in school was a little more exciting. We were allowed to pick the President of our choice, research his background, policies, positives and negatives. Most of us wrote research papers about our choice–some had classroom debates about the merits of our chosen Presidential Administration.

We students felt empowered to be allowed to have an opinion. I do not recall a teacher ever telling us our opinion was incorrect. We respected the Office of the President and knew the job was a hard one and that most people did not agree with everything each President did but we would defend our President because he was ours and Ours was the Best Country in the World. We students were optimistic.

And we all, students and teachers alike, got President’s Day off. It was a national holiday, schools closed, the Post Office closed and the banks closed.

Fast forward 30 years and a great deal has changed. Now it seems we teach less and less about our Presidents, our Founding Fathers, our Government structure and our Constitution.

Most of my former and present students don’t know who the Presidents are and don’t feel that the job is that difficult, prestigious or important. They don’t understand how to love their country and they don’t recognize “Hail to the Chief” when it is played.

As a History Teacher of course, this makes me sad.

On most school calendars, many schools around the nation still have the day off in observance of President’s Day, but more and more I notice district calendars observing it one year and maybe not the next–I guess it has become an optional thing.

It is not that important to me whether I get the day off or not, but it is important to me when I realize there is no “observance” of the Office of the President as it used to be.

Many students today have no idea who George Washington was, what Abraham Lincoln did for slavery, how John F. Kennedy challenged the nation to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Not to mention so many other Presidents–who may not all have been very effective–but at least left us with beautiful traditions for our nation.

I think we have lost something very important along the way.

Nonetheless I am very proud to be an American. I still believe we live in the Best Country in the World and I honor the Office of the President–no matter who is occupying it.

Have a happy Monday!  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think of President’s Day.  Have fun!