What I love most about the U.S.A.
Describing the Greek Festival will have to wait until tomorrow. The post below explains, with no disrespect intended toward the flag, why my favorite symbol for our country, and Ann's, is the Statue of Liberty.
Today I listened for a while to the memorial service held in memory of the nearly 3,000 people killed on Sept. 2001. Included, as they should have been were the people killed at the Pentagon, those who died in Shanksville, Pa., attempting to stop yet another horror, and thos who were killed in the World Trade Center bombing of 1996.
There were no speeches about politics. President Obama spoke as did former President Bush. The mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg spoke, as did former Mayor Rudolph Juliani. I apologize if the names of Mayors are spelled wrong. I haven't read them in Braille for a long time.
All of this was as it should have been and I am thankful for it. But to me the most touching and beautiful thing about the ceremony was the reading of the names of those killed, in alphabetical order. The variety of names was astounding and very beautiful. For me, it was especially moving to hear this variety and to know that All of these people had come to live in our country or to work here on behalf of companies in other nations. Most of those who died were, of course our own citizens.
And among the names of our citizens were so many who might have hated one another if they had lived in the countries from which their ancestors came. But here, they could vote, argue, eat one another's ethnic foods, and work together. That it what makes us the America of the dream. A general anti-imigrant stand is Not what strengthens us as a nation. The list of all those names reinforced my belief that our acceptance of immigrants is what strengthens us.
In that list there were Arab names, Jewish names, both Chinese and Japanese names. There were the names of African-Americans and workers from African countries. There were Scottish and Irish and English names. There were German sounding names and names which might have belonged to Jews whose ancestors fled Nazi
Germany. There was the name of an Albanian window cleaner and Eastern European names which could have been Serbian or Croatian. There were many Latino names, Italian names, names from every place on the globe.
To hear all of those names read together, side by side, in their alphabetical order, without regard to religion, race, ethnicity, skin color, gender or sexual orientation, That sounded like a symphony of America to me.
I am Glad Each of those names is carved into a Memorial where families can take rubbings home with them. Of all the things I could ever wish to see in Washington D.C., the Vietnam Memorial is what I would most Want to see.
Although I live in a very homogenious part of the country, I try to understand that I am a citizen of the Entire country, and of the world. That is why this reciting of names meant so much to me today.