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Proud to Be an American


By Elaine Guerrazzi | June 29, 2020

July 4, 1776, we recognize and celebrate the United States of America’s declaration of independence.  Many feel the American dream is for prosperity. I think it means more.  Next weekend is July 4th and I would like to share my sister-in-law’s story (with her permission).  It is time to reflect on our opportunities, appreciate each other, and live our best life for self, family, friends, and society.

A Life Journey – A Story of a Chinese Immigrant

Looking back my life o f 45 years, I am amazed how much my life have been changed and how much I have accomplished.  The life experience I have gone through, better or worse, made me the person today – a firm believer of individuality, capitalism, religion freedom and hard working and resilience.

I was born in China in the mid-sixties; 15 years after the communist party took power, the darkest era of Chinese modern history. At that time, the country population was exploding and the severer famine speeded around the country. The government did not focus on economic development and people’s wellbeing, but rather on securing the power. The notorious Culture Revolution and unconditional support of the Vietnam War and the North Korean War against American are some good examples how the communist party wanted to gain the super power. The schools became the propaganda institution of the communist party.  I had been taught since the first grade that there was no god, the capitalist was evil, and the communist was the future of the world. 

As the middle child of a family of six, I lived under extreme poverty, fear and uncertainty of our family’s fate. No running water, no pluming, no bathroom in the house. We used the public “bathroom” in the neighborhood, which had no roof, a few holes in the ground. We used coat stove to heat the house and cook food. We had to pump water from a well which was shared by the whole neighborhood. We shared one bed with our family. Our food is depending on the government rationing. Corn flour, half liter of cooking oil, and one pound of pork meat was all we got every month for a family of six. Only during the month of the Chinese New Year, the government gave each family a couple of pounds of rice and wheat flour. The Chinese New Year was my favorite time of the year. With the very limited food supply, we did not have enough to eat and we were hungry all the time. My mom used to take us to the field and dig some eatable wild plants and mix them in the corm flour and make pancakes in order to stretch the food we had to the end of the month. I still can feel the disgusting taste of the pancake today. Can you imagine today, a boiled egg was the best birthday gift for a child? I have to force my daughter to eat an egg every morning.

Things started change after the founder of Chinese communist party Chairman Mao died in 1976.  Many government reforms were underway. The two notable movements were open door policy to western world and the re-focus on education. It was an eye-opening experience for a lot of Chinese to see first time the modern western world and listen to the western music.  The Chinese people realized what the government had said about western world was not true at all.  At that time, I was in Middle school, I made pelage to myself  that I would do everything with my power to get rid of the poverty and pursue freedom and a better life for myself and my family. I made up my mind some day I want to live in America. I pushed myself very hard through the middle school and the high school, I became one of a few admitted to the highest ranking college in China. I had switched several jobs and fields to get a better pay check and treatment after I graduated, I joined millions of Chinese student to apply the scholarships provided by a few American universities and I made it. My life was forever changed after I decided to accept the offer of the scholarship and come to US. 

In October 1998, I left my toddler son and my beloved family behind and came to US with $2,000 in my pocket and with my broken English.  I worked through the college and graduated with high honor and 4.96 GPA from the business school. I came to Atlanta in 2001 to work for Siemens. I met my dear husband the same year. We got married in 2003 and we had a beautiful daughter one year after our marriage. We live in a beautiful house with everything I had never dreamed of. At same time, we fought with immigration offices to get my son from China and we united with him in 2005. My son and I both became US citizen in 2008. During the 12 year in US, I finally found my faith and became a Christian. 

Looking back, what an amazing transformation my life has been – from a Chinese girl lived under poverty and fear to an American woman with a beautiful family, great job and strong faith and political views. After today’s story, I hope everyone in the audience will be more appreciative of the opportunities we have in this great county and the constitutional foundations our foundering father had built for us. 

I am proud to be her sister-in-law.
I am proud to be an American.
Listen to Lee Greenwood (3 minutes 30 seconds) and
reflect on your opportunities and
your appreciation for others and society.

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