Land That I Love


One of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen is that of Lady Liberty from the ferry that transports passengers from New York City’s Battery Park to Liberty and Ellis Islands. This is the place where my great-grandparents and my paternal grandfather came to the U.S. in the early 1900s from Europe, immigrants in search of opportunity. Some of their names are engraved on the wall at Ellis Island. I wish I could talk to them now, ask how it felt when first they laid eyes on Lady Liberty after a long journey across the Atlantic. Were they fearful? Hopeful? Relieved? Homesick? Did they cry, too, when they saw her?

22 thoughts on “Land That I Love

    • Hi Hariod. I am, thank you. Missing her, not quite believing she’s gone, but grateful to have known her and been close to her these last years. This post was prompted in part by the fact that she was my last remaining grandparent, and also by recent events in my country that made me think about their journeys over to this land, which in spite of all its imperfections, I do love, in part, I think, because they loved it so much.

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  1. My guess is that they felt a mixture of all those things, but it sure would be great to ask them! When I was in middle school, our music teacher had us sing a song with those words as the lyrics. And even at that age, I could feel the tremendous power in them.

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    • Was the song, This Land Is Your Land? I remember singing that, too, if it’s the one. I’m sure they did feel a mixture. My grandfather was only one years old when he came over, so I’m certain he doesn’t remember 🙂 My great-grandparents on both sides never spoke English, so I couldn’t have asked them if I’d wanted to. But it would be nice to be able to ask now. Or I could have asked my grandparents. Surely they might have known. There’s so many questions I wished I had asked, but too late now.

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      • I know! I wish I could ask my grandparents more, too. And I know the song “This Land is Your Land” (and really like it), but this song was actually the words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free! Send these, the homeless tempest tossed to me: I lift my lamp beside your golden shore.” If I could carry a tune, I’d sing it and send you a you-tube of it, but trust me, you wouldn’t recognize the tune if I did that! Still, it was very powerful, and gave the impression of yearning for a better place and a better life. Have you ever read “Angela’s Ashes?” At the end, he does come to America, and the description is probably similar. Something we need to remember today, I think….

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  2. And I wonder what they would think about what’s going on now…?? While I was in the gym today (with my music in my ears mind you), I was listening to two older men next to me talking politics. Kim, it was quite difficult to stay on my treadmill…. I just sent them love….

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  3. Beautiful photo and poignant thoughts. I sometimes wonder similar things when my parents emigrated to Australia from Italy, how they felt stepping foot on this land where they didn’t speak a single word of English. Sometimes. I think it would be good to rewind time so we could talk to them again. xo

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    • I think our parents/grandparents were so brave to leave their homes and venture to a new land, where nothing was guaranteed and they had no idea what awaited them. I can’t even imagine doing something like that. Then there’s those people (I’m thinking of African slaves, indentured servants, etc.) who were brought to new lands against their wills, and somehow had to find a way to make a life. That takes tremendous courage. Thanks for reading and commenting, Miriam!

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