Several years ago, I read, "God Grew Tired of Us." It's the amazing story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. These children fled their homeland after their families were butchered. Many died due to starvation, dehydration, and sickness. Their clothing came from trucks that tossed shirts and pants to them. Shoes that didn't quite fit but that allowed them to walk across the continent without aggravating sores on the soles of their feet. Many of the ones that survived the exodus ended up in America through sponsorships from charities and churches. In the book, it describes one of the boy's wonder in the airport bathroom at not only the running, clean water, but that fact that it starts by simply waving your hand.
Tonight, on 60 minutes, they had a 12-year follow-up on many of these boys. Some became preachers. Some lawyers. Some simply hard-working Americans (they studied and gained citizenship). This is what makes me proud to be an American. These children survived the loss of their entire families. They walked for hundreds of miles across African deserts, and ended up in the U.S. They created amazing new lives.
Being American isn't just about protecting what we have, it's about the open doors that have made us great. The Statue of Liberty, one of our most respected monuments, bears a broken chain at her feet. The words of hope and compassion inscribed on her state: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
I was reminded tonight that America is a place of hope. Rebirth. If you watch the documentary (yes, it's a National Geographic one. I'm a dork.), you'll see these children living in huts. Kicking a soccer ball in the dust. Carrying containers of water because their homes have none. Yet, they speak English because they dream of a better life. It always humbles me to see children in an impoverished nation speaking our language when most Americans only speak English.
When these children stood in front of a cork board and saw their names, realizing that they'll be sponsored to come to the U.S., it brought me to my knees. We take so much for granted. And we are so blessed.