They came from all over the world to Ellis Island. Sixteen million immigrants passed through her doors. They came to find a life filled with hope instead of fear.
“You press forward to the bow of the ship. After three weeks at sea… After years of hunger and dreaming… For the first time you see it…”1
There she stood, the Statue of Liberty – the symbol of America.
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-tossed, to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!2
They rolled up their sleeves and went to work. They gratefully took the humblest positions in work, the least desirable housing, and the lowest place in society – because it was better in America. At least here they could look up. Things would get better. And they did. They fought their way up by the only weapon they had – hard work. They learned the language, the history, and the ways of America. Then they could come to the proudest day of their lives, becoming an American citizen! They went on to fight in America's wars and enter every realm of their beloved adopted country.
Unwanted and oppressed in their native lands, they found dignity and acceptance in America. They didn’t come demanding their rights. They only wanted a chance and America gave them that. They loved the nation that gave them a new life. And they made the best citizens of all.
This was not “multiculturalism.” It was the only way in good conscience a man could cross the boundary from one culture to another – by embracing the new one you entered. If it weren’t superior, you wouldn’t have come. Since it was, you treated it that way. Then there was peace in the land.