Last evening, (June 2)
while attending a patriotic pop concert at the Kleinhans Music Hall, my
thoughts turned back to the winter of 1939 when I first came from Nazi Germany.
I could still hear a “Mrs. Mervis”
in her deep off key voice singing God Bless America
and how uplifting that song was to me.
I could see myself climbing the mountains, smelling the prairie grass,
swimming in that blue ocean (just as the Egyptians were during the exodus from
Egypt) that was so aptly described in that glorious
tune. I could see the Nazis being swallowed by that immense ocean as they
tried to cross the sea leading to the land of freedom that had saved our lives.
I could feel myself being a Yankee Doodle Dandy belting out the words of
that song, along with waving that Grand Old Flag.
To me real patriotism can only be totally
appreciated by those who have suffered the torments,
tortures and indignities of oppressors.
As I listened with reverence to the sounds of that music I was transfixed
into another time. I saw myself in
an auditorium with refugees like myself lifting our arms with hands toward our
hearts, to pledge allegiance to our
new country. I can hear those sweet
sounds with the many accented voices repeating
those well thought out words and phrases of the Pledge.
I could feel the freedom that now was mine where I would not be attacked
for being me, where my life would not be threatened, where I would neither have
to run nor hide. When I returned
from my reverie after the last booming sounds of the orchestra I felt refreshed
and relaxed. How comforting and liberating to sit among a throng of Americans, enjoying
the music of our country, to be able to participate, share their good fortune
and be one of them!
Ursula Adler Falk