Today is one of those days I will always remember…similar to the birth of my two girls; when I found out my best friend had AIDS; my husband proposing; 9/11; seeing U2 at the Uptown Theater. A significant day no matter what the outcome.
I’m thinking today of my grandfather, Angelo Ferrante. He immigrated from Sicily when he was twelve years old. I remember large family dinners in the basement of his house in St Louis–kids running around, adults smoking, women preparing the food. We would sit down (of course I was at ‘the kids table’) to large bowls of pasta with meatballs and pork neckbones, fresh Italian bread, Schlitz beer, watermelon. After everyone was seated, Grandpa was at the head of the table. We would say prayers. He then stood up, banged his fist on the table and said “God Bless America!”. Then we would eat.
Because of my grandfather’s deep love of the USA, the stories he told of being so poor “back in the old country” and the way he never complained about working long hours as a barber–all of his grandkids grew up with a strong appreciation for being born in the USA. I feel so fortunate, so lucky to be an American. Growing up around these Italian immigrant relatives, seeing their strong work ethic –it’s seared into my soul what the American Dream means and why so many others want to live here.
So especially today, I am very, very grateful to be a US citizen and have all the privileges of living in a democracy.