Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Immigrants and flags

Dear Editor (Queens Chronicle):

It seems that I have written about this every Memorial Day and Fourth of July for the past five years – we see few American flags flying in South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill, and the situation only seems to deteriorate with each passing year. I am disgusted by the lack of patriotism and appreciation for America shown by immigrants in this section of Queens. No American flags fly, but there is a bounty of flags from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico, India and Pakistan. It seems the only symbol of America that counts to this bunch is the U.S. dollar.

A few weeks ago, I happened to catch a ceremony from the White House — the president was presiding over the Oath of Citizenship of over 100 immigrants. Those taking the oath came from all over the world, and so many of them were in U.S. uniform — they had joined the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, actively serving in the military, defending American freedom in dangerous places like Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming U.S. citizens.

Watching them sworn in as Americans was so touching. You could see how much it meant to them – imagine putting yourself in harms’ way for a nation you are not yet a citizen of? Think of the great sense of love and commitment they have. Anyone would be proud just to stand in the same room with them. It would be wonderful if the “newcomers” in my neighborhood possessed just a fraction of the sense of patriotism displayed by those new citizens.

I was just a kid when I watched JFK sworn in as president and I heard the words that inspired a generation: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Those words are inscribed near JFK’s final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery. You can read them while looking out over the countless graves of brave and decent Americans, many of whom, like those newest citizens, came from other countries to make a life here and give service to their adopted homeland — some paying the ultimate price. Freedom isn’t free, and living here in the U.S. is a privilege, not a right. If you are going to make a life here, then be appreciative of what has been given to you — stop looking back from whence you came and pitch in and do something for America — and you can start by flying the stars and stripes!

Ann Rychlenski
Ozone Park

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just want to mention that I lived in Hamilton Beach for three years and Rockaway Park for one year (all just past years recently) and every Memorial Day & 4th of July, every lamp post and numerous homes had the American flag flying. I loved walking home to Hamilton over the bridge from the train station and all you see as far as you can see down 104th Street is red, white & blue fluttering in the wind....

There are still those that appreciate it. When I lived in Richmond Hill, there was no such display :(

Anonymous said...

I live in Maspeth and think they are very good at honoring the flag and those who have fallen in its defense. Seeing the Armed Service flags hung on the Grand Ave - LIE overpass was a great thing to see.

Over the last 25 years or so, I think there has been a greater appreciation of our troops and their sacrifices.

The news is isnt all bad.

Anonymous said...

While the flag is a potent symbol of our way of life, it isn't the only way to show respect, love and gratitude to the Country.

Anonymous said...

"While the flag is a potent symbol of our way of life, it isn't the only way to show respect, love and gratitude to the Country."

Nobody said it was. But it is a good start.

Anonymous said...

"While the flag is a potent symbol of our way of life, it isn't the only way to show respect, love and gratitude to the Country."

Nobody said it was. But it is a good start.

So true.

Anonymous said...

Many immigrants never call America "my country". It is a shame. Maybe they should have stayed in their country.

IF YOU ARE NOT PROUD OF OUR FLAG...THE AMERICAN FLAG....MAYBE YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I seemed to have missed the point. How is a "respecting" a flag (a symbol) supposed to make one a patriot? Sounds like nationalism to me. It's neither a "start" nor an "end".

Instead, respect the idea of the U.S. by actively DOING things in order to strengthen democracy, not by worshiping a flag. Worshiping a flag puts one in danger of blindly following anyone who waves one.

italian girl said...

That's a beautiful letter. But unfotunately the people she's writing about will never even read it. This country and especially this city caters way too much to people who don't deserve it.

Anonymous said...

I have been overseas and lived abroad a long time and I have seen other Americans who also live abroad display American flags in foreign countries, are they too being disrespectful like the immigrants you point out? As a 20 year vet in the Air Force I hang my flag out when my current job sends me overeas. What's the problem???

I find it more offensive when people hang their flags and let it deteriorate, get ripped, dirty, and keep it out in the rain. Now that really bothers me.

PS: In my neighborhood now, Middle Village, I see alot of italian only speaking elderly people who have (sons or grandsons) with Italy stickers and decals with no US stuff, isn't that offensive too?

Snake Plissskin said...

Boys and girls you can chalk up another from the clubhouse.

When my mom's family came from the old country in the 20s waving the American flag was the only game in town.

The clubhouse likes to divide us so we can be controlled, and besides, these people have special needs only the clubhouse can take care of, dont vote, respect authority, in short, the perfect people to have in your community.

No need for middle class quality of life bellyaching Archies and Ediths thank you.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong Snake.. Some of our greatest cities were built by immigrants who were loyal top their homes countries first (and our Founding Fathers even called them a threat to our future society, ie Ben Franklin)...

Milwaukee, Minnesota, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, ...
think of all the German, Irish, Italian cities we are OK with. They were very loyal to their home countries, that is a fact.

The new wave of builders are hispanic immigrants... are their gangs as disgusting as the mobsters who corrupted local governments years ago?

New Majority-Minority by 2040!!!

Anonymous said...

It's OK when bars have shamrocks but not OK when restaurants have Hispanic nationalities????

Anonymous said...

Symbol worship. Icons. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Worship bad. Honor good. So difficult to understand.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it American to say, "Respect yourself and don't forget where you come from"?

But that doesn't apply to immigrants.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it American to say, "Respect yourself and don't forget where you come from"?

But that doesn't apply to immigrants."

Well, if you make up a straw argument, expect a straw answer.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you make up a straw argument, expect a straw answer.
--------------------------

Obviously hypocrisy isn't obvious to others.

Anonymous said...

Go into neighborhoods like Bensonhurst, Woodside, South Williamsburgh, even Forest Hills, they may fly America Flags but the Italians, Irish, and Jews that live in these neighborhoods still breath their ancient cultures the same way that newer immigrants do. They have been here longer and have assimilated into american culture more thoroughly, losing there language, music, and sometimes unfortunately, their food.

As a Cuban-American who grew up in Queens I always valued what I had around me because it was information that no one else outside of the borough had. You know what I'm talking about.

No point in complaining about flags, they're all beautiful, especially when there flying next to each other. The Jamaican one hanging from the BQE on-ramp on 43rd St. is especially great.

Anonymous said...

"Defending American freedom in dangerous places like Iraq and Afghanistan."

More like defending Halliburton's bottom line. It's a disgrace that we make the bravest men and women fight the most cowardly politicians' wars. Impeaching Bush would have been more patriotic than any American flag.

Snake Plissskin said...

You're wrong Snake.. Some of our greatest cities were built by immigrants who were loyal top their homes countries first
-----

Oh, like a typical hack, its a fact just because you state so?

You have a great future in the NYC newspaper industry.

Throughout American history the nation was jingoistic that would be apalling to PC types of today. Take a look at politcal cartoons, lithographs, or songs of the period, paintings, etc etc

Young America was the proud names. Europe old and fogy.

Third world? hahahaha

Outside of Chinatown opium den tours out of sight. Not an issue.

Anonymous said...

Snake P -

What the hell does that have to do with anything?

I lost you

Snake (Kick Ass) Plissskin said...

Snake P -

What the hell does that have to do with anything?

I lost you
---------

Well, when you stride into THIS forum, Sonny, you had better come weapons loaded and knowin how to use 'em.

You had thown out the claim that through history cities were built by people that put their old countries first.

I merely sited cultural artifacts from the historical period that refuted your claim.

But, since you seem to get your news on life reading the Queens weeklies, look at this logically.

If some Czar just rounded up your family and shot them, or some pasha rode into your village and burned down your church, I don't think you will will hold the old country in much esteem.

Anonymous said...

New York is one place when you ask a person what nationality they are they say Italian, Irish, Polish etc. etc.

Go down south and they say AMERICAN!

I think I am going down south! I AM AMERICAN AND PROUD OF IT!

-Joe said...

I was disgusted Memorial Day, watching out old guys march down the street of Korean sighns and Mexican flags. (little Neck)

Bloomberg having his press people and cops set up press ops with select tweeds and kids was the cherry on that cake

We are now a nation of sheep and muds, this new president is the nail in the coffin.

Obama has already placed the worst possible to head the Supreme Court, scuttled the border patrol and given a trillion taxpayer dollars to criminals.

Anonymous said...

I think I am going down south! I AM AMERICAN AND PROUD OF IT!
------------------------------

Please, go there, you belong.

Where else can they openly hate Jews and minorities, and claim the confederate flag is a symbol of THEIR heritage?

Anonymous said...

She is not going to HEAD the Supreme Court, Roberts appointment is lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Please go to the South, where they execute mute people!

Where George Bush is highly regarded!

Where communities of homes have wheels!

Where Thursday nights are Klan nights!

I wish those people didn't say they were Americans!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget:

Where sheep are called PLAN B

Anonymous said...

In the South where all the different gang colors are in flannel

Anonymous said...

In the South where toilet bowls are luxuries!

Anonymous said...

Fuk all governments and flags. We are all human! Blind patriotism = FASCISM

Anonymous said...

In the South where Hee Haw is funny and Seinfeld is a bunch of Jews doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

New York is one place when you ask a person what nationality they are they say Italian, Irish, Polish etc. etc
-----
That is because NY is a bit old fashioned, perhaps because of, you guessed it, machine politics. (I mean, get with it guys, most of the country has moved on you and you hacks are still stuck with 1860(African-americans) and 1920 (Jews and Italians) to say nothing of politics 1930 and 1960 (Roosevelt and Kennedy).

You go in most of the country ask people who they are, and they will answer 'American.'

Both Roosevelt and Kennedy are historical figures.

No wonder we are stuck with Bush and Clinton and looking at the disasterous immigration flood as if it were recreating The Good Olde Days in Good Olde New York.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget:

Where sheep are called PLAN B

----

Well in NY Plan B is someone of your same gender.

What is next, someone under age?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I seemed to have missed the point. How is a "respecting" a flag (a symbol) supposed to make one a patriot? Sounds like nationalism to me. It's neither a "start" nor an "end".
-----------------------------------
Questioning like this is the beginning of the breakdown in questioning patriotic values. When one wonders why they should respect the flag, eventually they come to wondering why they should respect the ideals or the country, and then wonder why they should be loyal to any one country at all. Think about where this mentality gets us.

Anonymous said...

No American flags fly, but there is a bounty of flags from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico, India and Pakistan. It seems the only symbol of America that counts to this bunch is the U.S. dollar.

Many of these folks appreciate being here, but not enough assimulate into American society, learn the language and celebrate USA holidays. other simply are here for the wrong reasons and here illegally and should be detained if such status.

Anonymous said...

A person's patriotism is not measured by whether or how often s/he displays the American Flag. I judge patriotism by whether a person obeys the law, is respectful of his neighbors and coworkers civil and property rights, volunteers to make his community a nicer placer. I think those things are much more important than waving a piece of fabric

Anonymous said...

A person's patriotism is not measured by whether or how often s/he displays the American Flag. I judge patriotism by whether a person obeys the law, is respectful of his neighbors and coworkers civil and property rights, volunteers to make his community a nicer placer. I think those things are much more important than waving a piece of fabric

Steven said...

and just when I thought the people on Queens Crap couldn't out-bigot themselves any further, this entry is posted.

Anonymous said...

Don't complain that they choose to not be patriots in a nation that gives them that right- 'because' we give them that right. Either they have it or they don't.

Anonymous said...

WE AMERICANS DON'T WORSHIP THE FLAG WE RESPECT WHAT IT STANDS FOR. All the sacrifices and hard work our parents,grand parents and others did to make this country what it is, a land of freedom where all can live together in peace. If you can't see this than what are you doing here. Become one of us or just leave.
I would like to see another country in the world where you can fly a foreeign flag,talk in a foreign language or open a store where the natives cannot read your sign

Anonymous said...

WHO CARES. YOU ARE WASTING WHAT LITTLE BRAIN POWER YOU PEOPLE HAVE. What do you think this is Nazi Germany where one is required to fly some flag? Its a piece of cloth with a design big deal. So what people want to fly the flags from where they came from let them... remember that whole bit about having freedom of expression while being in the United States? I'll never forget when I lived in Arizona for school I flew the NY flag because I'm proud of where I was from... so are the immigrants.

Anonymous said...

Its a piece of cloth with a design big deal.
--

You are a lowlife. Someone fought and died while serviing in the Armed Forces and gave up all their tomorrows for you to write this today.

You are an asshole.

Little Johnny Jones said...

Actor James Cagney portraying George M. Cohan in the film "Yankee Doodle Dandy":

(I think it goes something like this)

"Every time we get a little too sophisticated for some flag waving... some nation comes along and kicks us right in the pants"!

Anonymous said...

Wow. The government is nationalizing major industries and people get apoplectic and compare the US to Nazi Germany because people are passionate about flying the flag on MEMORIAL DAY?

"A person's patriotism is not measured by whether or how often s/he displays the American Flag. I judge patriotism by whether a person obeys the law, is respectful of his neighbors and coworkers civil and property rights, volunteers to make his community a nicer placer. I think those things are much more important than waving a piece of fabric"

Isn't it respectful to fly a flag on a day meant to commemorate the lives of those who have fallen in defense of this country? To vets, the flag is a symbol of why they died. THEY believe that, as well they should. Ever heard of Iwo Jima?

"Its a piece of cloth with a design big deal."

"I'll never forget when I lived in Arizona for school I flew the NY flag because I'm proud of where I was from"

Sounds like you are at war with YOURSELF.

Anonymous said...

italian girl - you are a hypocrite for criticizing others for flying another country's flag while you waltz around here with the name "italian girl"! Go learn what it is like to be a proud American before you look stupid commenting on this subject again.

Anonymous said...

I do not have probelm wth folks wanting to fly the flag of the country they came from but would it kill them to fly an American Flag next to. After all if they are willing to accept the rewards of this country then they could at least respect it enough to Fly that Piece of cloth that so many have givning up thier lives for which enable them the freedom to fly their flags.