America the Beautiful

I recently shared on Facebook an interview of George Takei and praised him for speaking about his experience in the American internment camps during WWII. I mentioned that my Grandmother Mistuye was interned, along with her family, but she never spoke of it. In fact, in her attempt to assimilate, she stopped speaking Japanese and, as far as I know, forgot how.

Imagine things went differently, that the language had been passed down and I could speak more than a few survival phrases. I think of the connections I could make (I have family in Japan that only know rudimentary English or none at all). 

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by encouraging immigrants and their descendants to maintain their language and, cultural identity. Our lives and interactions are sometimes more challenging, but richer. I do believe that learning to speak and read English are crucial for life in most parts of the US, but that does not mean one must erase any knowledge of his native tongue. And most people tend to think in their native tongue, so why not appreciate America in whatever language they think in? I remember reading Persepolis. The writer is at an interview and is asked if she prays in the traditional language. She answers honestly that she doesn't. She says she believes God, being God, can understand her prayers no matter what language she prays in, and isn't it more important that she pray from the heart?
And so I say, if someone loves this country for all its beauty and ideals, what does it matter what language one professes it in? I never thought I'd say this, but I applaud CocaCola for, in this one instance, understanding that vital, human idea.

If you still aren't sure, here is America the Beautiful. In English.

1 comment

  • patrick o'heffernan
    patrick o'heffernan
    Completely agaree. Let's talk about in on teh radio Friday

    Completely agaree. Let's talk about in on teh radio Friday

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