I can't imagine what poor Ida went through - the only adult traveling across the ocean with four small children. It lends a whole new wrinkle to the phrase 'are we there yet?' (Of course, 70 years later my own mother would travel from Idaho to Michigan with four small children - ages 5,4,2 and less than 1 - but that coincidence is a whole other story.)
Thanks to my great-grandfather's sound thinking and Great-Grandma Ida's fortitude, the Meissners made it to America - land of the free, home of the brave, a place where he could raise his family without fear of the war that ravaged his own homeland. August and Ida had a dream of freedom, and despite the trials they had to go through to get here, they made a good life for a little family that would swell over the years as they added 5 more children.
I'm sure they missed Germany. But they loved their new home. They had to - after all, they instilled that love in Wilhelm, who passed his own love of the U.S.A. to his youngest child, Charles. And Chuck? Well, he passed it along to me.
|Back L to R: August, Wilhelm, my Uncle Ken. |
Front: my dad, Charles
This may not be the best place every single instant of every single day, but there's still no place I'd rather live. And if, all those years ago, August had been a weaker man and thought 'well, Germany sucks, but moving halfway around the world is scary, so I'll stay'? Well, I'm guessing Wilhelm would've been goose-stepping with the rest of the Nazis. Or imprisoned for not wanting to fight. Or dead.
So, on this day, I'd like to say thank you to August and Ida Meissner. You gave independence to a long line of little Meissners after you, and I am eternally grateful.
And thank you to our Founding Fathers for creating a country where a man could come to be free.
Happy Independence Day, Everyone! I hope your day is filled with the joy and fun that only freedom can bring. =o)