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Brian's Attic

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Brian's Attic: The Reading Shelf
9/11/2002, 2005
An American Family
Ich Bin Ein Amerikaner
Mustard and Ketchup
Ronald Reagan

Arthur's Home
Day of the Living Driver
Jonah, the Movie
Once it Was Believed
The Dream
The Village, the Fence, and the Sign
Wilbert and Grunt

Attack of the Amateur Photo Album
Brendan: A Monk, A Boat and A Legend
Brendan's Island Guest Book
Brendan's Island Visitor Information Center


Ich Bin Ein Amerikaner

Brian H. Gill

I understand that this actually happened: I'll call the man Heinrich Schultz. He was born in Germany during the first part of the 20th century, and, when he grew up, decided to move to the United States of America. He liked it here, studied, and became an American citizen. He spoke English, but was much more comfortable with the language he grew up with.

Then came World War II, and the draft. Mr. Schultz had registered, since it was an American citizen's duty to do so. When he got the letter ordering him to report for training, he went. He was in good heath, understood English more than well enough to follow orders, and so went through basic training with no problems. His unit was assigned to the German front, and so, one day in the 1940s, there was Heinrich Schultz with the rest of his outfit, ready to board the transport. At this point, his sergeant realized that there was something different about Schultz. The sergeant asked Schultz what country he was from. Private Schultz replied quickly, "Ich bin ein Amerikaner!" The sergeant told Schultz to go home.

Private Schultz was a good soldier. He obeyed this direct order. He went home. Things got a little hectic for the sergeant and the rest of the American armed forces at about that point, and the proper paperwork never got filed for demobilizing Private Schultz.

Decades later, Mr. Schultz and the Pentagon realized that there was a problem with Mr. Schultz's status, and filled out the proper forms. End of story.

The point of all this is, for me anyway, that being an American is an attitude, not a nationality.

People come here to follow "the American dream." That usually involves earning a better living, but that's not all. My ancestors came here from Ireland and Norway (mostly), because they thought that they could do better here as independent workers or farmers, than they could back in the old country. For the most part, they were right. Many also came because they thought it would be easier to practice their faith here than in the old country. They were also right, for the most part. My wife's ancestors made the trip from Germany and Holland (mostly), for the same reasons, and with about the same results.

It's been good, these last several generations, living in the United States of America: A country where we were free to fail, or succeed, or come out even; but where we were free to try. I look forward to more generations, and hope that my descendants have as much opportunity to pursue their dreams as I have had.

I'm proud to say, as 'Schultz. did, "Ich bin ein Amerikaner!"

copyright Brian H. Gill 2002

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Brian's Attic: The Reading Shelf

Americana Observations Fiction
9/11/2002, 2005 Arthur's Home
by Naomi Gill
The Dream
An American Family Day of the
Living Driver
Ich Bin Ein Amerikaner Jonah Fan Page The Village, the Fence and the Sign
and Ketchup
Ronald Wilson Reagan Once it Was Believed /
Now We Know
Wilbert and Grunt

Brendan's Island home page
I Love It Here! (life in a small town) | A Walk on the Catholic Side
Brian's Attic | Attack of the Amateur Photo Album
Brendan: A Monk, A Boat And a Legend
Brendan's Island Guest Book | Visitor Information Center


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This page last updated: December 19, 2010