This morning I awoke, looked out my window and between all of the high-rise buildings going up around me, I saw Lady Liberty herself standing proudly in the harbor, her confident stance unaffected by the dreary weather up here in New York. I recalled the words that are inscribed on her written by Emma Lazurus:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
My parents, along with hundreds of thousands of other Cuban exiles, took these words to heart and found not only shelter, but the freedom this lady promised. And although we still await the day in which a similar monument to justice and liberty can greet those that return to their native Cuba, or in my case, see her shores for the first time, we give thanks to this great country. We may not always agree with every single policy America has, but we will never forget the opportunity she has given us to live as free men and women.