An immigrant humbled me this week. Maricella grew up in Yugoslavia, which later became Bosnia, then deteriorated into civil war. At twelve years old, she moved as a refugee to Germany. After twelve more years, the war ended and the refugees ordered to return home. However, Serbs and Muslims lived separately, and her parents were each, respectively. They became a family without a country.
Her mother fought to immigrate to seventeen countries, with no results. With fourteen days to go until they would be forced to live in Bosnia, Mama went to the US Embassy and refused to take no for an answer. They agreed and on the last day, were flown to America.
Why did she end up in Las Vegas? Because that’s where the plane landed. Now she’s got a great job, traveling around the world as a buyer. She’s studying psychology, rides horses for recreation and is trilingual.
“You people don’t know how fortunate you are,” she said. “America is the greatest country in the world.”
Maricella publicly renounces her ties with any other country and is proud to be an American.
I heard her story because she gave her Icebreaker Speech at Toastmasters. That’s a four to six minute speech where the speaker introduces herself. Wow.
Remember ten years ago, 9/11? They couldn’t keep flags on the counters. Singers wrote patriotic tunes, and we were all proud to be Americans. Hopefully we don’t need such destruction and pain to once again be loyal and grateful Americans.
9/11. Remember what happened. Remember what didn’t. And remember what could.