Immigrants



To the Editor:

Actually, we all are immigrants. Go far enough back, and we all came from somewhere else.

My ancestry is German, English, French and Irish, an American mutt. Most Americans have a similar mixing of cultures. In the 1800s, there were close to 300 German city states, with kings and everything. All of Europe and Ireland had the potato famine starting in the 1840s and constant war between countries. For people living there then, it was a good time to leave.

Kind of like Syria today.

Those who stayed in Germany had the choice of being conscripted into one of the German armies for 20 years or moving east and being conscripted into the Russian army for 18 years. There was not much of a chance of surviving either of those options.

My family hails from the Holstein flatlands of northwestern Germany, and we knew Holstein cows very well – from one end to the other. Great Grandpa moved his family from Germany to Waltz, Mich., where he started a small dairy farm.

My grandfather moved to Detroit to work in the Cadillac motor car plant, and my Dad became a top-notch tool and die maker able to make almost anything out of steel. I liked wood. So after getting a degree in health education, I became a luthier, a musical instrument maker.

The saga continues with our kids, who are seeking their paths in respiratory therapy, lobstering and nursing. Are any of your families stories that much different?

Does national origin mean anything related to peaceful living? We fought two wars with England and two wars with Germany, France wanted and conquered much of the world, and Ireland has been fighting invaders and itself forever.

Does religious origin mean anything related to peaceful living? Everybody has fought everybody about this. Think of the Protestants and the Catholics or the Protestants vs. the Protestants! Look back to the worries of the American presidential election of 1960.

Folks are folks. If you treat people fair and give them a chance, we are constantly surprised at what assets people are. They are us.

About 2,000 years ago a fellow kept bringing up radical ideas: “Love one another,” “Pray for one another,” “Encourage one another.” That is quite different from the ego, greed and power grabs that many fancy people and politicians in our times wave the flag for.

What is your alien story? What will you do to help make this a better earth?

Peace.

Ed Damm

Bar Harbor

 

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