The young man would settle in the west and form a satellite operation similar to his father’s, back in Sicily. He would expand upon the business, and live for nearly 100 years. This is the story of so many of the Italian immigrants who came to America looking for that promise and hope, and opportunity. It was dubbed “The American Dream.”
So he bid his family farewell and set off, alone, for America.
Which among us, at 15, could even dream of taking such a step into the unknown?
Would he have been able to dream that his most of his grandchildren would become millionaires? Could he have imagined that some of his great grandchildren would not see the American Dream, 100 years later, as he did? That the unlimited panorama of success and achievement had slipped out of their grasp? That the wealth of the nation was increasingly being concentrated at the top, with the "richest 1 percent in the United States owning more wealth than the bottom 90 percent?" That La Cosa Nostra wasn’t limited to Palermo and the early 1900’s?
His great-grandchildren do not know him, for he is long gone now. His grandchildren have faded memories of him. Even the memories they have, who can ever remember another person’s dreams?
I for one, am going forward. I am not going to succumb to anger. I am not going to let the dreams of those who came before us, and those who are among us, dissolve into anger and disgust, fear and hopelessness. We are living in dangerous times, but looking back over history, when was that not the case?
For my Italian friends and for those of us on La Isola Americana, now is not the time to give up on our dreams. It is also not a time to sleep. We must be awake and pursuing those dreams. And if there is something I do not agree with, it is incumbent upon me to fight for what I believe is the right way. And, believe me, that is what I intend to do in 2017. No one is going to kill the dreams of my grandfather. Or my father. Nobody.
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