Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Am An American! (A Poem)

Dear friends and family,

I went to vote this morning! Many of my friends had reported waiting 2 or 3 hours, but our county has extended the hours, so there was absolutely no line at our local public library when I went at 8:20 AM. With as much as I have to do in life, I'm thankful for that, but I would have voted even if I'd had to wait. It is worth it to me.

I want to share you a favorite poem that I have given out to my English class the two years we have studied American literature. Written by a Russian Jew who came to the USA at age 7, it is sure to stir your patriotism -- not just for the past, but for the future. The first stanza speaks for folks like me, whose ancestors (Captains Samuel Ransom and Alexander Quarrier) really did fight in the Revolution. The second is the voice of those who have immigrated from oppressive countries, like my friends Olga, Monica, Ovi, Anna Marie, and Zamfira.

I am An American
by Elias Lieberman

I am an American.
My father belongs to the Sons of the Revolution;
My mother, to the Colonial Dames.
One of my ancestors pitched tea overboard in Boston Harbor;
Another stood his ground with Warren;
Another hungered with Washington at Valley Forge.
My forefathers were America in the making:
They spoke in her council halls;
They died on her battlefields;
They commanded her ships;
They cleared her forests.
Dawns reddened and paled.
Staunch hearts of mine beat fast at each new star
In the nation's flag.
Keen eyes of mine foresaw her greater glory:
The sweep of her seas,
The plenty of her plains,
The man-hives in her billion-wired cities.
Every drop of blood in me holds a heritage of patriotism.
I am proud of my past.
I am an American.

I am an American.
My father was an atom of dust,
My mother a straw in the wind,
To his serene majesty.
One of my ancestors died in the mines of Siberia;
Another was crippled for life by twenty blows of the knout;
Another was killed defending his home during the massacres.
The history of my ancestors is a trail of blood
To the palace gate of the Great White Czar.
But then the dream came
The dream of America.
In the light of the Liberty torch
The atom of dust became a man
And the straw in the wind became a woman
For the first time.
"See," said my father, pointing to the flag that fluttered near,
"That flag of stars and stripes is yours;
It is the emblem of the promised land,
It means, my son, the hope of humanity.
Live for it die for it!"
Under the open sky of my new country I swore to do so;
And every drop of blood in me will keep that vow.
I am proud of my future.
I am an American.

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