Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ellis Island: Tracing Your Family History Through America's Gateway, by Loretto Dennis Szucs

Book 29

My library, like many, has several different displays with different themes to draw people to books.  One is the "wallflowers".  The sign says:

"We never go out!  Please give us a chance!"

That's just mean.

So I picked up this little book.  It is a brief history of Ellis Island with some statistics and tips for tracing your own geneology.  That was all nice stuff.  But the best thing the book gave me was a reminder of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty:

Give us your tired, your poor,
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!

Oddly, it reminded me of an ancient bio-pic of JFK.  As a little boy, he was asking his father why the sons of the Boston Brahmin were so horrible to him.  Joe said something like, "Every family in this country came here on a boat.  Sometimes the families that came on the earlier boats think they are better than the families that came on the later boats.  They are wrong." 

So.   Thank you, little wallflower book.  For the reminder that we are a country of possibility and opportunity and sometimes we should really shut up and appreciate it.

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