A number of years ago I noted this phenomenon: Go to the local 7-11 and you’d see a family of first generation immigrants – people from God-knows-where – working 12 on, 12 off shifts. Flying from the stultification of the old world’s expectations for them. Fully cognizant of the opportunity they’d earned, gratefully busting their butts. Their kids would go to state schools, get good jobs, contribute to society. Their grand kids would go to Harvard, maybe. Maybe Columbia.
Meanwhile I knew young people of enormous privilege who frittered it all way on drugs and booze. With parents who were congressmen, federal judges, captains of industry. People with every advantage of race and class. People who’d squandered it all.
This is what keeps us strong, the people who come here from far away, people believing that we are who we say that we are.
And then you see something like this:
A Korean immigrant whose family was killed when an F-18 crashed into his house returned home to survey the rubble and said he doesn’t blame the military pilot who survived the accident.
Dong Yun Yoon, 37, lost his wife, two baby daughters and mother-in-law after a Marine Corps fighter plane clipped a tree and plummeted into houses about two miles from base. The pilot safely ejected and was rescued hanging by his parachute from a tree.
“I pray for him not to suffer for this action,” Yoon said at a news conference, according to The Los Angeles Times. “I know he’s one of our treasures for our country.”
And I think about what the “average” native born citizen might have said. Who he might have promised to sue. And it’s not just Dong Yun Yoon. It’s also people like Sgt. Joseph Menusa, and Dawid Pietrek, and Rafael Peralta.
And then I wonder: Do we deserve these people? Honestly, ask yourself. Do we deserve them still?
Some of those who were born here seem to see the rights and privileges of our Republic as a birthright.
I see them as an obligation.