On the ferry to Liberty Island from Battery Park in New York City, I listened and watched as folks were seeing Lady Liberty come into view, for many, perhaps, for the first time.
A Spanish-speaking woman standing near me gasped when she saw her – “Ohhhhh”, she exclaimed in delight. Others were similarly moved by the sight.
The thought, unbidden, in my head in that moment: “It’s their story now.” Somehow, it seemed fitting that this should be so, that the ones already here move over to make room for the next generations coming to these shores, that they might weave their stories into this tapestry of a nation.
Later, sitting and people watching again, a random snatch of words from the mouth of a born-in-the-USA-beautiful-blonde woman float by me. All I hear is “our liberty”.
And I think to myself that by its very nature, liberty ‘belongs’ to no one and that as we (whoever the we may be) do not confer it, ‘it’ isn’t ours to take or take back.
I really don’t know what the born-in-the-USA woman was talking about, but random snatches of liberty afloat around me made the air sweeter while the possessive ‘our’ made it heavier.
I wonder what new stories will be written by those coming to these shores, seeking their own destinies. I’m guessing that in another hundred years, some will still be gasping in wonder as others are grasping in fear. I hope I’m wrong about the second part.