What American Dream…?

libertyThe Statue of Liberty. Just for a moment, picture it in your head. She’s tall, regal, and slightly green. Yet, some of us, as born Americans, have lost the true meaning of this Iron Lady, an iconic figure symbolizing the American dream. What used to bring immigrants to tears is now a tourist trap and a great photo op. When and where did we lose our sense of WORKING for our American Dream?
Let me tell you a story. It’s about the strongest woman I’ve ever known. My grandma Helen. She was born in 1920 in Strassburg, Russia, near the Black Sea. Her childhood was a normal childhood until WWII wreaked havoc on everything she knew. My grandma and her mother and two sisters (along with all the German inhabitants of the little village) were forced to leave their homes. Without any means of transportation, they WALKED from Strassburg, Russia to Poland! WALKED. Their journey was fraught with disease, intermittent air attacks, and Mother Nature. My grandma not only lost her home, she also lost her only brother and her husband who were forced to enlist to fight for something they didn’t even necessarily believe in. My grandma worked as a servant for many years, trying to support her young daughter. It was then that she got word of a Catholic Church in Hague, North Dakota, who was willing to sponsor German Russian refugees. This decision would affect the rest of her life. She signed up and soon found herself standing on the deck of a ship, watching her mother wave to her. She and her young daughter were leaving their country…forever.
Upon reaching this country, The Statue of Liberty greeted her and sent her a message. A message of hope. A message of a dream. Did this message promise instant gratification? No. Did this mute Lady promise a good paying job on the first try? Nope. Did my grandma get in writing that no matter what, happiness would fall in her lap? I highly doubt it. Here’s the message: If you are willing to work and work hard, the American Dream is yours. And you know something? My grandma worked her fingers to the bone. She never asked for anything or complained because she didn’t have what the “Jones’” had or that her life was rough and hard or that life had treated her unfairly. Instead, she raised her seven children, respected and loved her husband, kept her household in order, loved God, and possibly loved her grandchildren more! Her reward? A legacy that will never end. And a huge mansion in Heaven.
So, what’s the moral of the story? Simple. The Statue of Liberty isn’t for people coming into this country. Most of these newcomers understand the value of a strong work ethic. Look at the jobs they’re willing to do just to live in this country! The Statue of Liberty is for natural-born American citizens. We are a spoiled, pampered, and whiney group. Some of us don’t think we have to work for our bread and butter. We simply think that we should hold out our hand and POOF…there’s a Big Mac and super-sized fries sitting in our palm. Look at your grandparents, great-grandparents, and all the great greats. Look what they had to do so you are able to have what you do now. So, I think it’s time we get our hands dirty. Ever pick acres and acres of lettuce to pay for food for your family? Maybe you should. That food you buy might taste a little better. Next time you buy fruit, think about who picked it. I’d bet it’s someone who’s just working to make the American Dream a reality for himself/herself and his/her family. So my question to you is this…what are you doing to make your American Dream a reality?

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