"" Writer's Wanderings: We're Comin' To America!

Monday, May 02, 2011

We're Comin' To America!

I had no plan to get up at 5 a.m. to view our entrance into the New York harbor. The last time I had wanted to see the Statue of Liberty as we arrived, it was rainy and cold and miserable. I didn't hold out much hope for a clear morning since our last five days had been rainy and foggy. But for whatever reason, my body alarm clock sounded off at 5:30 and I figured as long as I was awake, I'd peak out of the curtains and see where we were.

When I realized we were just approaching the Narrows, I was truly wide awake. It looked clear outside and I could tell the people in the balcony beside us (our balconies were actually holes in the hull that required you to stand to see anything) were beginning to take pictures as they were using their flash. I tossed on the complimentary Cunard robe grabbed my camera. Wedging myself between the drape and the door to the balcony, I tried to quietly open the door and slip out. Bob was still "sawing logs."

As I popped my head out, I saw the object of their photography--the Verrazano Bridge, named for Giovanni di Verrazano, the Italian explorer who discovered the New York Harbor. It is a huge suspensioin bridge that connects Staten Island with Brooklyn. The fog seemed to have cleared and I began taking some shots and trying to remember where the Statue of Liberty was in relationship to the bridge. I didn't think it was far.

Remembering back to our trip out of the harbor on the Queen Elizabeth 2, I recalled that it was on the starboard side of the ship as we exited. I figured coming in it had to be on the port side so I braved the damp salty deck in my barefeet and waited.

We no sooner passed under the bridge and the fog engulfed us again drawing a curtain of misty mystery through which I tried to establish where we were. I had forgotten that the QE2 sailed out of the Manhattan docks and we were headed for the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. As I snapped shots of a mist-enshrouded Staten Island Ferry, the Statue of Liberty was passing by on the starboard side.

But as we slipped past the buoys that rang out with a bell now and then, I thought of what it must have been like to come into this harbor after crossing the Atlantic as a person wanting a new start, escaping oppression, looking for opportunity, wanting to give his family a better life. Fear, joy, anxiety, excitement. It must have been quite a mix of emotions.

America may have its problems but it is still that kind of place of freedom that so many sought including my grandfather's family. He was sixteen when he entered that harbor with his family. It is still a country to be proud of.

Take pride America. Pledge allegiance. Honor the flag that represents our country. Learn the words to the National Anthem--even if you can't sing the notes. Be thankful for our freedoms. Pray for our country that it will continue to offer us the freedom that we too often take for granted.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...