Jon's celebration of his 21 years in America should be a reminder to all of us who take our lives here for granted. It should especially be a wake-up call to those who don't appreciate America - who scorn her and try to bring her down.Too bad those people will never read it or think about it.
Those who have lived a different life KNOW that what we take for granted is precious.
I'm glad Jon made it - Active Rain just wouldn't be the same without him!
What was July 31, 1991 in History?
- Russia & US sign long range nuclear weapons reduction pact
- Senate votes to allow women to fly combat aircraft
- The Medininkai Massacre in Lithuania. Soviet OMON attacks Lithuanian customs post in Medininkai, killing 7 officers and severely wounding one other.
It was also a very important day for our family. It marked the end of over 2 years of waiting for the day, when we passed the last Border Patrol officer and boarded the plane to America. It was shortly after midnight, we were very tired of days, weeks and months of waiting, believing this day would come, and losing faith…and then hoping again…
The level of anxiety was hardly bearable. What if they take us off the plane, what if they stop the plane? And when the plane went airborne, it was a huge sigh of relief… It was over. We left the Soviet Union. We left it for good.
The Soviet Union did not live long. 2 weeks later it fell apart, and Gorbachev's era ended with little fanfares. But it is not about Gorbachev...
We, a family of four, myself, my wife Olga, then 19-year old son Vadim, who actually turned 19 on July 30th, but we did not have time to celebrate it, and my daughter Inna, who was a few months shy of her 18.
It was PanAm, Boeing 747. Passengers were still allowed to smoke on the plane, but it all did not matter…
We landed in JFK early, but we were going through customs, through immigration, and it took hours and hours, and then we were waiting for a bus to take a group of new immigrants to a place that we had no idea about.
This was our first day in America. While sitting and waiting, I was trying to imagine our lives in the new country, trying to imagine where we will be in 2 years, 3 years, 5 years… We had $400 in our pocket, and $3,900 in debt to the charity that bought us 4 one-way tickets…
The bus came, and it was the first time we walked outside into the summer heat. Put our small suitcases, and the bus rushed us into the darkening New York skyline, taking us to our new lives, new beginnings, new mistakes, new discoveries…
Through pain, through tears, though falling and getting back on our feet… It was 21 years ago today.
This was the beginning of my best years in my adult life...
Thank you, America!
I owe you
Photo by Dave Hosford via Flickr.com