We are a stronger country because of diversity

Monday, January 08, 2018

I would like to share a feel-good story with you.

My name is Sam, a nickname I have had for almost 50 years, and I drive a school bus for F. M. Kuzmeskus. I transport 45 kids to and from school every day. All good kids and happy kids.

One day, one of my 4th-graders, a young lady who is my “monitor,” told me of a student’s birthday. I suggested that we all sing “Happy Birthday” to her. I then said, if they told me of their birthdays, we could all sing to them, too. So here we are singing “Happy Birthday” and then one young man said he could sing it in German. So in a clear voice this 4th-grader sang for us. Then some kids said they could sing it in Spanish. Then the Russian kids sang it in Russian. A Moldova girl could sing it but was too shy. The Romanian kids sang it softly in Romanian.

Now that’s a melting pot! All these kids speak English, and at 5- to 9-years-old are bi-lingual. They already have a leg up on the rest of their peers. Their parents may have come to this country for a better life or to escape something we, as free Americans, cannot imagine.

Not a terrorist among them.

How could we possibly think to close our borders to anyone wanting to be free and safe. We are all immigrants, unless we are Native Americans. Our ancestors came here to be free and safe. Can you imagine our country without lasagna, Chinese food, Japanese sushi, French toast, pizza, tacos, tea or polkas? We would be vanilla, at best.

All of us make our country a better place. We are so lucky to be free and safe. Let’s all make 2018 a better year. Happy New Year.

Maribeth Oakes