You first walked the ancient village streets on pavement carved into the mountainside. Your barefoot testimony never once confessed to anger. But your hunger couldn’t hide beneath your ribs.
A new world was yours for the taking.
Scores of young men, just like you, soon found themselves excited and bewildered and scared. Right here, in a fortress that seemed to offer golden streets and unbounded freedom under the watchful eye of some giant harbor goddess.
But first, papers had to be stamped, exams submitted to, questions answered. Hours of boredom followed by tense moments of humiliation. Full cooperation was both summarily expected and enthusiastically given.
Approved, you were later shipped from island to mainland where you were left unprotected, unschooled, and completely alone. But a promise tucked away in your well worn pocket kept you sane.
A promise that you relied upon when you later began a legacy that followed in your footsteps.
A promise that meant home.
Image Credit: Steven Zampino at Ellis Island Hospital (Doctor’s Chair – area closed to public).