This is the Celebrating the Small Things blog hop, run by Lexa Cain and her two wonderful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits.
I love this hop, though I can’t always participate. It is wonderful to see through others’ eyes and understand the various reasons for either outright joy or subtle smiles.
I’ve been busy with various things, some good, some not so good, but nothing horrible (something to celebrate in and of itself.)
On a message board that I regularly frequent, the talk turned to politics. This is generally my signal to depart but I stayed where I was and reviewed the messages. One caught my attention, something about returning immigrants to their countries of origin.
Now, I don’t discuss politics on my blog, my website, any of my social media. I have opinions, as everyone else does, but I don’t choose to proclaim them. I imagine that if people want a dose of politics they can read The Congressional Record or any one of a good many major newspapers
The comment, however, made me think of my own family, and the voyages of various of my forebears to what we call the United States.
|Lafayette, I can’t recall the word…|
We have a fellow from France, a Protestant who left around 1770 and came to what would become the state of Connecticut. His name was François, from the part of France that borders what we now call Germany. He spoke excellent English. Some years later he served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He was tapped to serve as an interpreter to one Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, known as the Marquis de Lafayette, who came with the French forces to support the American Revolution. He spoke broken English. I suspect François made himself useful.
There’s another family that left Normandy in the train of a man who was once known as William the Bastard. They came to England, ended up settling in Ireland around 1100 AD. They had the surname ‘Savage’ from ‘Sauvage’. One of their descendants, married to a man from an old Irish family – the Hickeys, from the city of Cork – came to the United States around 1840.
Their daughter married a fellow who came from Alsace (France) in 1848. This man, Josef Myers, enlisted in the Union Army at the start of the American Civil War, served through the major campaigns, with a stay in the notorious prison of Andersonville, escaped, was sheltered by a family of slaves for a time and finally returned to his unit, serving to the end of the war. Discharged in New York, he came through Philadelphia and met a young lady of Irish descent. They homesteaded in North Dakota when veterans were given a grant of land.
All of them newcomers to America, all of them arriving on the shores of North America and registering to become citizens of the United States.
The discussion took an unpleasant turn on the subject of immigrants. I didn’t participate. I did, however, remember two quotes:
Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists. (President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, addressing the Daughters of the American Revolution)
And this, written by Emma Lazarus, inspired by the Statue of Liberty:
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
What are you celebrating?
Getting past a particularly hard time in your journey is quite a blessing.
Remembering and learning from your history is a good thing.
Brilliant! I love your examples from your own family and couldn't agree with you more. The intolerant and ignorant are always looking for scapegoats to blame all the problems of the world on. It's shameful.
So true what you have written. Lovely using family examples. The world needs more compassion. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
Nothing like finding that you're home safe and happy/! May it be so for everyone.
I would love to be able, somehow, to see the history behind the people I deal with every day. How their families came to this place, who they were, how they lived. How they met. My grandmother lived on the great plains in North Dakota and she said when the wind blew from the west they could smell the salt of the ocean. Amazing! Do people even smell the wind now? I'm going to try to do so.
Thank you, Lexa – I think sometimes we don't realize the treasure we have in our families and the stories they tell. I started writing them down before they were forgotten. And I remember my family members saying, “Why do you want to know that?” Well, we need people who remember. Hm… That's where the Storytellers come from! Thanks for visiting!
Thank you, Yvonne – I hope yours is wonderful, too!
I'm still hoping to get my father to recall some of his stories before it's too late. I have a mini hand-held recorder. I thought we could record a few of dad's memories that way. Our family histories are so precious, Diana!
Yes indeed. If you're not 100% Native American, you owe your U.S. citizenship to some stalwart people who risked a lot and made some serious choices about traveling into strange lands. Great thing to celebrate.