Monday, July 4, 2016

New Beginnings

Today is Independence Day, the day we celebrate the 240th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. An important event in our early history.

I have been fortunate to see many things tied to important events from the start of the US.  Among others, I've seen a real copy of the Declaration of Independence and tallies of the votes done before its acceptance. I've visited Philadelphia and seen Constitution Hall where the Declaration was adopted. I've been to Boston and seen the harbor where they had the Boston Tea party. In Baltimore, I saw the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. And I've visited the homes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, all key players in our early days.

source   Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home.

But among all of these amazing visits, there is one that stood out more than the others. Ward and I were visiting Mt. Vernon, home of George Washington. We went with Ward's parents, Leo and Syl, who lived nearby but hadn't visited in years. The weather was nice and we were enjoying the various buildings and gardens when we decided to tour the house. We went through the first part of the tour and were waiting on the wide front porch that faces the Potomac to get into the next part.

We were chatting about this and that when Syl said, "This is where I got my citizenship." (His mother was from Guatemala and came to college here where she met Ward's dad.) What? Right here? I had never heard this story and neither had Ward. She had actually stood on the porch right where we were and got sworn in as a US citizen. Leo said that Ward was little and he had him out on the lawn trying to keep him quiet and out of trouble while his mother said her oath. So as we were learning about an early part of our country's history, we also learned about early part of Ward's history. Soon after that, Ward's mother became sick and died several months later. We felt lucky that we got to share the memories of this important event with her.

So today, as I remember our forefathers and the start of our country, I think about Syl and others like her who also got a new beginning here. I am fortunate to live in a country where this is possible.