Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Immigrants' Day

Today Americans celebrate a holiday originated by American immigrants - you know, those foreigners who arrived on the Mayflower.

When we sit around the dinner table on Thanksgiving, it is easy to forget that we are by-and-large a nation of immigrants starting with the Pilgrims. While some families arrived more willingly than others, each persevered until they “became” American with each group having its own measurement of what made them American.

So, to all of you whose families came to America from countries around the world for whatever reason and no matter how recently or how long ago: Congratulations on your achievements.

To the North American Indians who were here first: Sorry.

Today happens to be November 22nd, the anniversary of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It seems as though that Thanksgiving was a confusing weekend spent largely in front of the television and many immigrant families were afraid that the political upheavals they had so recently fled had followed them to America.


"And so it is that I carry with me from this State to that high and lonely office to which I now succeed more than fond memories and fast friendships. The enduring qualities of Massachusetts—the common threads woven by the Pilgrim and the Puritan, the fisherman and the farmer, the Yankee and the immigrant—will not be and could not be forgotten in the Nation’s Executive Mansion. They are an indelible part of my life, my convictions, my view of the past, my hopes for the future."
- President-elect John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), addressing the Massachusetts legislature, January 9 1961

1 comment:

Val said...

Beautiful insightful sentiments with which to mark this year's celebration. A beautiful way to define America - your inclusive observations have made all decendents of immigrants (meaning virtually all of us) feel immeasurably more American today.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, A.P. Hughes - you are in my thoughts.