Most of us are the offspring of travelers by sea. My ancestors came from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. They were farmers and miners, carpenters and fishermen. They were poor, uneducated, and desperately in need. Some did not survive the seas.
They, and many others, risked their lives for a dream – of simple things like food to eat, a place to live, a way to provide for their families. Hunger drove them to these shores. Faith provided the strength for them to reach.
I remember my ancestors today, on this St. Patrick’s Day. I think of the battles, the invasions, the revolts that took their lives but ultimately gave me mine. I think about the Butters who married an O’Brien and about a Taylor who chose a Grimes for his bride. Was it for love that they bridged the divide? Were they scrutinized, marginalized, mistrusted because they stepped into the other side?
I need to know more about my ancestors, for it seems they are alive in the events of today. For them and for so many others, a poem was crafted. If only we could hear the bagpipes sing, for I bow in respect for all of these:
“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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”