Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.

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Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

He picked me up at La Guardia right on time.  With a thick European accent, he asked “Madame, did you have a good flight?”  I told him it was “my lucky day – no bad weather, no delays”.  He took my bag as we walked to the car, and he said “Madame, you’re right about this being your day because there is no rain” (even though the clouds looked like they were about to burst).  We headed to the city and merged onto the highway.  He turned and said “Madame, this really is your lucky day because there is no traffic!”

Since he knew I flew in from FL, he asked me if I was from NY or FL, and I said FL.  He was happy to tell me about his only trip to Miami.  He and his wife had just gotten married.  They had heard about sunny Florida and wanted to honeymoon in Miami.  He said he’d never forget the date . . . August 1979 . . . their hotel was closed and boarded up because Hurricane David was headed to FL. 

Thankfully for him and his new wife, they had a compassionate and patient taxi driver.  They had no idea what to do or where to go.  Their taxi driver was kind enough to drive them away from the city and find a hotel that would take guests.  I wonder if that experience had any impact on his decision to chauffeur later . . .  and what a reminder for your anniversary!!

Believe it or not, that experience didn’t stop them from vacationing in FL.  He and his wife raised three kids in NY.  As a family, they would take vacation trips to Disneyworld in Orlando, FL.  They rented an SUV, spent 2 days driving down, a few days in the Magic Kingdom, and then drove 2 days home. 

He’s been in the U.S. 45 years now, coming here from his native country of Yugoslavia . . . or at least, that’s what it was called when he lived there.  He told me “there was this “crazy guy” over there who started killing people.  Thank goodness for America because they got rid of the “crazy guy” before he could kill more people.  Now, it’s called Kosovo.”  He doesn’t get back there much anymore. 

It’s amazing and inspiring to meet people who are Americans by choice and not by birth. My driver’s story reminds me of our very own “Miss Liberty” — “The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.“  (from Wikipedia Statue of Liberty)

As Independence Day approaches, I remind myself that every day is my lucky day.  I live in a wonderful country with benefits and freedom that are often taken for granted.  “Bea Positive” and “Bea Proud” that we live in the great U.S.A. – the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

 

“Inscription on the Statue of Liberty”

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 tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Author: Emma Lazarus

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