Wednesday, July 1, 2009

4th Of July-- Celebrate Freedom!

In September of 1951, I was 14 and on a ship that was taking my family and me, and hundreds of other refugee's of World War II, to America. On the tenth day of our journey I was out on the deck before dawn.

I remember gazing sleepily into the black distance, becoming slowly entranced by the trillions of lights out there on the dark horizon. It looked like a fairyland. It was my first look at America! Then, as dawn broke, someone in the crowd shouted, "There she is! There she is! The famous Statue of Liberty!"

Mesmerized, I gazed upon the vision of that grand lady with the torch rising magnificently out of the sea. From my vantage point on the ship, she seemed to hold her torch higher and higher on the New York skyline. I was overcome with emotion and could almost hear Lady Liberty saying the words I had learned in English class at the refugee camp school: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." And it seemed like she was speaking directly to me. That vision is indelibly etched in my memory.

And a few years later, when I became a proud citizen of my new country, I finally gained full membership in American society, and had the right to vote. And by pledging allegiance and loyalty to my new country, I became a proud American by choice!

(This is a short excerpt from my story "Two American Ladies" which was published in Mature Living Magazine" in 2004.)

Yes, I will be out there, celebrating freedom this 4Th of July.

While spending some time at our little cabin...

On a beautiful river....

And cruising around in a jet ski even. Weather permitting of course.

I hope you'll be celebrating freedom as well, this 4th of July. God Bless the USA!

Thank you for coming by. Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings from the woods.


Reader Wil said...

A great story, Renie! Very impressive! I can understand so well what this means for you. I had just turned 12 when I reached freedom. We left Indonesia, after the concentration camps, on an English ship by the end of 1945 and we went to Singapore first, from there we left for Holland in December. When we finally arrived in Amsterdam it was cold and uninviting, but in spite of that, I felt safe and free! Let's enjoy our freedom.

Brenda said...

Nice reflection on what was and was is now. Now you have so much to be grateful for, with your beautiful land and peaceful settings.
Have a great Fourth of July!

hannah said...

Very nice!
Happy Fourth.


Rudee said...

I'm quite certain that shortly after World War I, my immigrant grandparents saw and felt the same things as you describe here.

I feel blessed that this was the country of my birth. I do love this nation of ours. Enjoy your Independence Day.

Sharon said...

That was such a beautiful story.
Thanks for sharing it.
I hope that you have a great and blessed weekend.
Love the cabin, and that lake view is so beautiful.
May we all know how lucky we are to have our freedom not only this weekend but always.
God Bless

Maree said...

Oh dear...goosebumps and tears...what wonderful memories!

God Bless our great county!

Margaret Cloud said...

Renie, this is such a touching story, it brought a tear to my eyes. Tour pictures are so nice, love the looks of your cabin. Thank you for coming by, hope you have a great 4th of July and be safe.

bennie and patsy said...

Blessing to you Renie and glad you have a great 4th planed.
Hugs Patsy

Becca's Dirt said...

Hey Renie - What a great story. Happy Independance Day.

NitWit1 said...

Renie, thanks for the story of your coming to USA.

I know several persons with similar stories.

It seems those who have attained freedom by new citizenship are more appreciative of its meaning than many of us born in the USA.

My appreciation of freedom was enhanced by my husband's 20+ years in the Navy.

Happy Independence Day!

Patty said...

Wonderful story. Congratulation on becoming an American citizen and doing it the correct way. Hope you have a wonderful time at your little cabin, be careful if you go out on the jet ski. We;re cooking out Nathan's hot dogs and brats, of course I'm going to make some potatoe salad, shoe peg corn salad, already have some eggs and beets pickling, will have chips and dip, watermelon and cantaloupe and I'm making an ice cream cake. We're going to celebrate 3 daughters birthday that have taken place in June and one coming on Sunday, also Father's Day and the 4th. This way, old lady lincoln only has to cook one time instead of five different times. LOL I told the girls they can bring what ever covered dish they wish to bring, or they don't have to bring anything, there will be plenty.

Happy 4th. Renie

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Oh Renie that was so beautiful!!
Made me cry!
I so want to spend the 4th with you on that river and ride a jet ski! HA!
puppy hugs and lots of love *muwah*

Mary said...


I love your stories and this is no exception. I wish you a very happy 4th of July.

Mary said...

Happy 4TH Dear Renie!
It is raining at noon here on this side of our state!!! Hope it clears for the whole state by tomorrow!! You have a good time at the cabin and the river,
I loved your story! Hugs Grams

Lakeland Jo said...

Enjoy your weekend!

Mountain Mama said...

I wish I could find the entire story Renie. Only someone who has survived what you have could tell it so well.
Your description of the sleepy girl looking out over the sea to the lights of America, then seeing the Statue Of Liberty brought tears to my eyes and my heart too.
I'm so glad you came to America.
God bless you and yours and you just go ahead and celebrate Independence Day to your hearts content. I will be celebrating with you in spirit.
Love and hugs

hippo chick said...

Oh Renie, what a lovely story. You are an inspiration to me. I love your cabin on the river. How blessed you are to have such a wonderful place to celebrate the

Do you really ride the jet ski? Good for you.

Happy 4th and..

~hippo hugs~

Lucy Stern said...

It's a blessing to be able to live in this free country.... My prayer is that it stays a free country....Happy 4th. Miss Renie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Renie, I am visiting from Bennie & Patsy's. What a heartwarming story on your post today. It really touched my heart. I hope you and your family enjoy the weekend so much.

audrey` said...

Happy 4th July, Renie! =)

This is a very nice story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

Renie you make me appreciate all I was blessed with, Blessed to be born an American but also blessed to live in a country that takes the poor, the tired, and says Welcome.
God Bless America.
Sometime being born in America we take it all for granted We need the Renie's of the world to remind us.

Sammy said...

Such beautiful words, Renie. I can only imagine how much a day like the 4th of July must mean to you. And it looks like you spent it well! I always enjoy the photos you post.

I'd love to get on a jet ski one of these days!

Take care and have a wonderful week! :-)

ancient one said...

I love your story...

I love your cabin and your ability to drive a jet ski...LOL For some reason, I really enjoyed the 4th of July so much this year. I was amazed at how many of our neighbors still put on their fireworks displays. It felt so good celebrating our USA birthday!!

violetlady said...

Thank you for printing part of your wonderful story. So beautiful! Renie, do you live in that cabin year round or is it a vacation place? I love cabins! It sounds like you had a wonderful 4th!

Reader Wil said...

Hi Renie! How are you doing today! Thanks for your visit and nice comment! Hugs, Wil

Poetikat said...

Your little cabin reminds me of the Russian Dachas.
What a story! I can imagine the emotion that must well up in you on such a day! I hope it was wonderful!


Deborah Wilson said...


I love that little cabin - it ;ooks so peaceful...

On the 4th - I don't know about anyone else but I was sure nuff celebrating that watermelon! It was one of the best that I've tasted in a long time!

BClark said...

I hope the weather was great and that you were able to relax and enjoy.
Your stories are so inspiring, they make us appreciate more what we take for granted.
Thank you for sharing.

Anne C. Watkins said...

Hi Renie! I'm so glad you're here. I love that story. :)


Sandy said...

oHHH. great except!! And love the cabin photos.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a lovely blog, and this post is tremendous! The storyline and your delivery of it was intriguing and boasted of pride. I commend you for sharing your thoughts and wish you the very best. To have celebrated in that wonderful cabin must have been relaxing...Thanks for coming to my blog, I am appreciative, and I shall return here to absorb more of your great writing...

Jaina said...

What a beautiful memory! Thank you so much for sharing! Happy belated 4th of July!

Reader Wil said...

Good morning Renie! Thanks for your visit! Yes we also have slugs, but at that moment I couldn't find one. That's why I showed the video.