The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus (1883)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
On this July 4th, 2019, so many years later, may we remember this message, written by the poet Emma Lazarus, who spent much of her adulthood advocating for destitute Jewish immigrants escaping pogroms in Europe.
When I think of the 4th of July, I don’t think about massive parades with tanks and roped-off celebrity viewing sections, I think about all those who came before us, those ancestors who found their way to our shores and gave those who followed better lives. This year I especially think of those who are still coming.
And their children.
May you have a good Fourth of July with family, friends, fireworks and freedom.