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thanksgiving and citizenship

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Dec 14, 2005

On the Square posts a good essay by Robby George, on gratitude as the key to making immigrants into Americans:

[My grandparents'] gratitude was not diminished when times got hard -- as they did for all Americans -- in the Great Depression. Although both my grandfathers encountered ethnic prejudice, they viewed this as an aberration -- a failure of some Americans to live up to the nation's ideals. It did not dawn on them to blame the bad behavior of some Americans on America itself. ...

Like so many other immigrants, my immigrant grandparents particularly appreciated the opportunities that America made available to their children. My father's father had a sister -- she too was an immigrant -- who had a son named John Solomon who wanted to be a lawyer. He finished college and then completed law school at West Virginia University. The law school in those days was located on University Avenue in Morgantown near the center of the campus. It was a grand building that one entered by walking up a broad set of stairs. When my cousin John's mother -- we knew her as Halte Gemile -- came to attend her son's graduation ceremony, she stopped to kiss each step as she ascended those stairs. Such was her gratitude. Of course, her son was thoroughly embarrassed by this display. My father, who was there, tells me that his cousin John turned to his mother at about the fourth step and pleaded: "Please mom, you're acting like an immigrant." Indeed, she was.

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