We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fly the Flag Proud!

May 24, 2012 will always be an important date in Andy’s life story. Born and raised in Germany, this is the day our son-in-law added United States citizenship to his German citizenship. To do so, he worked his way through the required paperwork, passed a test, and took the Oath of Allegiance.* Our family celebrated over lunch around the backyard picnic table last Sunday. His gift? An American flag – a symbol of “the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

The American flag has always intrigued me—its symbolism, its history, its unique design. The pride I feel on Memorial Day when the veterans march by carrying the Stars and Stripes shows itself when I get that familiar choked-up feeling and blink back patriotic tears. Maybe the reason I experience so much emotion is because my dad served in the United States Navy and we toured Washington, D.C. when I was a kid. Perhaps listening to concerts given by the U. S. Army Band on the steps of the Capitol and the fact that my ancestors passed through Ellis Island has something to do with it, too.

I loved to sing in the school chorus in elementary school in the 1960's. Our concert itinerary included “Let There be Peace on Earth,” along with “The New Colossus,” words engraved on the Statue of Liberty written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. I still remember the lyrics (along with the melody):

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Times have changed since these words were penned. America has been the land of golden opportunity for some but not for all. Yet, I’m grateful for this country—my country. I’ll always bring tissues to the parade. I’ll always enjoy the music that represents the Red, White, and Blue. And I’ll always (as I said to Andy) “fly the flag proud!”

*Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Book Review: Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus

I keep a stack of books propped up against the wall by my side of the bed. There's something "nice" about finally climbing in after a long day--and reaching for a book. I give a long contented sigh and snuggle in to read until I can't focus any more. Ah-h-h . . . such a sweet ending...

My latest book kept me turning the pages later than usual. A delightful read, Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus, is light yet thought-provoking, fun yet relevant, taking the reader on a journey of real-life issues and dilemmas. The author, Joyce Magnin, weaves together a great story. I recommend it!