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V.I.P. Member
Posts: 46
(5/17/01 10:18:13 am)
| Del All “The Emigrant”
Very early spring of ’66….. North Andover Massachusetts….It was here that I learned a very valuable lesson…. without actually being formally taught by anyone……

Now… all of us learn from our parents, teachers and others around us many, many things…..

Sometimes we learn these things easily… sometime hard… but we learn……

Patriotism…… can be taught……. but I feel that it is inside of you all along and remains dormant until it becomes alive within you…or you are taught that it IS IN YOU ALREADY…..

So... I begin here........

In the spring of 1966, I was still stationed at Ft. Devens in Ayr Massachusetts… and whenever I could, I went to the small town of North Andover……A very beautiful, old town.

Well.. I got stranded there that night as the last bus left without me, so I wandered the town marveling at the old architecture and the well kept homes as I used to do in my own town. There was a park/city square that had a gazebo that obviously was well used for summertime bands and picnics and just to the east on this square was a fountain that had a small statue in its center. It reminded me of the one that my city has on one of our many boulevard’s.

A statue of the lady liberty.

Our nations “Statue of Liberty”.

I found a bench to rest on and to examine the fountain and statue further, while I waited for the next bus, still some several hours away. While sitting there, if you looked past the statue & fountain, you could see the old style row houses or “three story walk ups” as they called them then and the street was dead straight, due East, right into the coming sunrise.

So while sitting there, watching for the pending sunrise ; I observed an old man walking up that street toward the fountain, whistling and humming to himself as he went. He could not see me, I believe, as I was at least a 100 yards away. I say an “old man” as I was only 19 and he was about in his late 60’s or so (OK, so I am not a great judge of ones age!).

The thing that stuck me first was that he did not dress like the older men in the town I came from, but very much like the older European cities….. and since he was walking out of the Italian section of North Andover, I assumed then, as now, that he must have come here by way of emigration from Italy.

The old gentleman walked toward the fountain and at the same time the sun broke over the horizon, then this man,

this emigrant,


turned to face the fountain,

and while holding his hat over his heart and looking up at that statue with the sun rising behind it; began to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the top of his voice! His voice made the words echo among the houses.

He sang ALL of the words, not just what you hear at a ballgame.

As the sun finished rising and he had finished his song, he put on his hat, turned and walked on. All the while humming to himself.

Here was a person who was not “Born Here” but knew the words and displayed his allegiance.

Here was a man that was not “born here” but was more American than I had even been in my short 19 years.

Nothing has ever, nor since struck such a profound cord in me.

You can be “born here” and understand ..


You can be Born here and never , ever, understand what that means.

But I know at least one old man that does.

and now…. so do I…..


Senior Chief Moderator II
Posts: 540
(5/17/01 11:10:58 am)
| Del Re: “The Emigrant”
Mith........another great one with a whole lot of meaning to it. Very true what you say. My mother was an immigrant from Scotland at the age of 16. I remember her often saying that she felt that she was taught more about American history in Scotland than most Americans in America. Maybe she was right. She had a great deal of respect for this country, having arrived here in 1920, shortly after WWI.

Edited by: dap22 at: 5/20/01 8:23:23 pm

Posts: 624
(5/24/01 5:07:30 pm)
| Del Re: “The Emigrant”
Another goodun Mith! And Dave it seems we(me included) have taken it all for granted.

The Roman citizenry became the same way and eventualy fell from within...hope that's not us!...but they say history repeates itself.

...and two hard boiled eggs.

Senior Chief Moderator II
Posts: 583
(5/24/01 5:20:26 pm)
| Del Re: “The Emigrant”
Right you are Homer!! Much to be learned from past mistakes.

Posts: 132
(5/25/01 9:10:45 am)
| Del Re: “The Emigrant”
You write such moving stories and tales.
This one stricks home. I watched my Mom study prior to her Naturalization hearing. I WAS SO PROUD WHEN THE JUDGE ALSO ASKED ME IF I WANTED TO BE AN AMERICAN. He Swore me in right then. I get goose bumps to this day when I see our Flag waving in the breeze. Many Americans do take so much for granted and have no clue what this great country has done and offers to its citizens. There is no other place on this earth like it.

Thanks for a great reminder, Gene

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 164
(5/25/01 5:18:19 pm)
| Del Re: “The Emigrant”
Thanks for all the memories you've posted lately, Mith. You do good work!
Please share more with us, if you can.

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