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What Price Freedom?

Leo J. Ghirardi

Why our country has been set aside and made up of immigrants who are truly the foundation of our democratic republic isnít a mystery.

The Fourth of July is a special time in the lives of all Americans to pause and reflect on who we are in the world community. I have often given thought to our outstanding leadership as a free nation and the awesome responsibilities we have accepted to share what we have, especially freedom and rights. We must never take our responsibilities too lightly, because the performance we give on the stage of life, I believe, is being directed by an omnipotent God who has set aside our piece of Terra Firma as a haven for the homeless, destitute, and oppressed people of the world.

Why our country has been set aside and made up of immigrants who are truly the foundation of our democratic republic isnít a mystery. Since the beginning of our quest for freedom from the British Empire, our people proved by example to the world communities that we could take in immigrants who could not freely cross the borders of their own countries. They could come here and live in peace with every nationality of the earth. We do not have to wonder what it is that bonds us together. It is what I like to call ďfreedom glue.Ē

My hometown has accepted many Cuban-born citizens who desired to make Morgan City, Louisiana, their home for themselves and for their children. It was they who stood tall as they were braving the open seas to reach this country.

The Cubans who had enough of atheistic Communism wanted so badly to enter the United States that they used makeshift boats and attempted to come here with only the clothes on their backs and a dream in their hearts. Once someone found a boat adrift right off the shores of Louisiana. In it was the body of a Cuban who died trying to reach America. His body was brought to Morgan City for a Christian burial. Cuban-Americans took over the responsibility of the burial, but first they attempted to locate the manís mother who was still in Cuba.

She was found and flown to America for her sonís funeral. The lady said that she first feared coming to the United States because she was told that coming here was like coming to Hell. When the funeral was over she had this to say: ďNow that I am leaving America to go back to Cuba, I feel like Iím in Heaven and going back to Hell!Ē

It can never be said that an American has ever had to brave open seas on a makeshift boat with his family to find a better place to live. Indeed, if there is a better place to live than America, it has to be Heaven.