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[Congressional Record: August 2, 2001 (Senate)]
[Page S8696-S8697]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []
                          NATION OF IMMIGRANTS

  Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, each year the American Immigration Law 
Foundation and the American Immigration Lawyers Association sponsor a 
national writing contest on immigration. Thousands of fifth grade 
students across the country participate in the competition, answering 
the question, ``Why I'm Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants.''
  In fact, ``A Nation of Immigrants'' was the title of a book that 
President Kennedy wrote in 1958, when he was a Senator. In this book, 
and throughout his life, he honored America's heritage and history of 
immigration as a principal source of the Nation's progress and 
  I had the privilege of serving as one of the judges for this year's 
contest, and was very impressed by the young writers. In their essays, 
they showed great pride in the Nation's diversity and its immigrant 
heritage, and many students told the story of their own family's 
  The winner of this year's contest is Crystal D. Armstead, a fifth 
grader from Philadelphia. In her essay, she reminds us of America's 
immigrant foundation and the importance of honoring our diversity. She 
describes how immigration has affected her family and how it enriches 
her life today. Other students honored for their creative essays were 
Robert Banovic of Pittsburgh, PA, Megan Imrie of Orland Park, IL, 
Carter Jones of Huntington Beach, CA, and Amanda Tabata of Honolulu, 
  I believe that these award-winning essays in the ``Celebrate 
America'' contest will be of interest to all of us in the Senate, and I 
ask unanimous consent they be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

       Grand Prize Winner, Crystal D. Armstead, Philadelphia, PA

        Reasons Why I'm Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants:
       The United States has the largest immigration population in 
     the world. There are two types of immigrants today. Those who 
     are running from something, and those who are running to 
     something. In the early 1600's there was a third reason. 
     Africans were brought to America against their will as 
     slaves. Africans had no choice but to become part of American 
     culture. Today, African Americans have freedom to leave, but 
     are so much a part of the American society that we remain a 
     part of this country. I'm part of the American melting pot.
       My school is an example of America in 2001. There are at 
     least thirty countries represented in my school.
       Some of the children in my school don't speak English, or 
     speak very little English. In the classroom, they sometimes 
     have a translator. In the lunchroom and in the school yard, 
     language is not a problem. We play tag, jump rope, and run 
     around the school yard. We need no translators. It is a 
     privilege to go to school with so many cultures.
       In the fourth grade, everyone researched their culture and 
     country of origin. My ancestors came from Africa. They 
     weren't treated well, but today I'm able to attend one of the 
     best schools in Philadelphia. I was proud when my grandmother 
     shared stories from Africa.
       We finished the project with an international lunch. We 
     enjoyed dishes and wore clothes from our country of origin.

                Finalist, Robert Banovic, Pittsburgh, PA

                           My Road to America

       When the war started, I was four years old. I lived with my 
     mom, dad, grandmother, and grandfather. One day my dad went 
     to the war. My mom said that he would come back soon but he 
     never did.
       As we sat down to eat one day, the shaking and screaming 
     began. There was dust all over. They threw a grenade in my 
     house and killed my grandfather who I loved a lot. The door 
     and bricks fell on me. Everywhere around me were dead 
     people--men, women, and children. The war didn't choose.
       My uncle took my mom, grandmother, and me to another city. 
     From there we moved on again but my mom didn't come because 
     she was trapped in the city we came from. My grandmother died 
     three months later and I was left with a woman I didn't even 
     know. I didn't see my mom for six months. When she came, the 
     war was still going on but I didn't care, at least I had my 
     mom. My dad was gone, my grandfather and grandmother, too--
     all of them died in one year.
       When my mom and I came to the United States, it was hard 
     and we cried a lot. We didn't have any friends and we didn't 
     know how to speak English. But we have a lot more here than 
     we did in Bosnia. Most of all we have freedom. Now I'm one 
     happy kid who is glad we are here!

                 Finalist, Megan Imrie, Orland Park, IL


       This is a true story. It is to show why I am glad America 
     is a nation of immigrants.
       My great-grandfather was an immigrant from Italy. In the 
     1930s people did not get paid much and had to work very long 
     hours. His name was Liberio. When people became tired with 
     the way their bosses treated them, they picketed for unions. 
     Liberio and his co-workers were among these workers. Liberio 
     was their leader. One day during a picket, the police 
     arrested him and his co-workers. When it was Liberio's turn 
     to be questioned, the police asked why they were picketing, 
     since this is America. Then Liberio said: ``I know all about 
     America. My name is Liberio and it means liberty. I have 
     three sons. My first son is named Salvatore, which means 
     salvation. America gives salvation to people who are poor, 
     hungry, persecuted or even in danger. My next son's name is 
     Victory, which means victory. Victory stands for America 
     because we are victorious over depression and hardships and 
     other countries that are against our way of life. My last 
     son's name is Frank which means freedom. Freedom is America. 
     Its people can believe, can live and dream however they 
     choose. Do not tell me I do not know what America is.'' When 
     the police heard this, they let my great-grandfather and his 
     companions go. I feel that this is very important because it 
     made many understand what America is.

              Finalist, Carter Jones, Huntington Beach, CA

                           America as a Quilt

       I like to think of America As a huge quilt, Each person 
     acting as A small thread, Each person's character Describes 
     the color Of each thread. Each person's appearance Determines 
     the texture Of each thread. Each family acts as A group of 
     threads. Each family's love For each other Determines how the 
     Threads are placed. When a marriage occurs Two more threads 
     Are woven together. When all the families Are woven together, 
     It makes a very Unique fabric.
       As the fabric grows, It forms quilt pieces That form a 
     Complete quilt. Each family has its Own unique pattern That 
     determines the Way the quilt Patches will look. If you were 
     To take other Country's quilts and Compare them to The United 
     States' Quilt, you would Get a very different Product because 
     Of different foods And different Traditions of each Country 
     in the world. The United States

[[Page S8697]]

     Quilt would have A very different Texture and color Than any 
     other Country in the world. All the different Characteristics 
     and skin Colors of people Around the world Make our quilt 
       If you were to Look at the United States' Quilt, really 
     Study it, you Would find Characteristics Of all the other 
     Countries on it.
       People have Immigrated here From other countries, And 
     because of that, Each quilt patch Is different from The next 
     quilt patch. Immigrants from Countries other than The United 
     States Bring different foods And traditions, which Change the 
     colors and Textures of the United States' beautiful And 
     unique quilt.

                 Finalist, Amanda Tabata, Honolulu, HI

       I'm proud to live in a place with many immigrants.
       Many people get to share customs, traditions, history, 
     language, and many more things.
       Many people do not know how lucky they are to live in a 
     place with many immigrants.
       I can learn many things about a culture from one another.
       Give thanks because you live in a wonderful diverse, and 
     free country.
       Really take the time to experience, and learn about all of 
     the cultures, history, tradition, religions and many more 
       Always be proud of who you are, what culture you are, and 
     where you come from.
       Nurture, and create an appreciation for all cultures.
       Together we stand in a community of different cultures, so 
     we are strong.