Monday, October 9, 2017

Celebrating [redacted] Day 2017

How I'm celebrating this controversial day: instead of debating this holiday and the good that was done [more trade routes! the world is large and definitely round!] versus the horrors inflicted [you people are now slaves! search for gold or you’ll lose a limb or worse!], I prefer to celebrate my heritage. Like most people, my great grandparents were immigrants. They were Italians who left their beloved homeland to find a better, more sustainable life. Roseto, my hometown, was named for Roseto Valfortore, and that first generation proceeded to build a life on the wooded foothills of the Poconos. The founding generation battled a lot, including the racist taunts and violence of the Welsh and English who were already settled there, fearful the strong Italians would steal away their jobs, and—let’s be honest—probably their women, too.

So today I keep my ancestors in mind and close to my heart. I revere the memory of the women and men who worked in the blouse mills, the slate quarries, the construction jobs, the auto and tailor and shoe shops, the markets and farms, the schools and churches. I’m mindful of their sacrifice and unshakeable love of their God and family and adopted land. They are a solid part of the foundation of this country—they fought and died in its wars, they raised it up.

And how am I celebrating? By going to work today. Yes, I’m going to work in a profession I love because my ancestors made sure that I’d have that better life they sought when they sailed to this country.

Viva l’Italiano. Viva la famiglia.

No comments: