Red, White and Blue

My grandpa was a first-generation American.  His family immigrated to Russia from Germany. The Russian government promised land to German immigrants, in return for working the land and making it suitable for farming. Their family left Russia just before the Bolshevik Revolution tore the country apart. When my great-grandpa heard rumors of war, he packed up his pregnant wife, baby daughter and fled to America.

image courtesy of google images

From stories I’ve heard, the boat ride was terrible, my great-grandma suffered with morning sickness and being in steerage on a transatlantic ship didn’t help. According to some research the I’ve done, the length of time on the ship could vary from 2-weeks to 6-months, depending on which kind of ship they were on.  I am not sure how long they traveled to get to the U.S.  When my great-grandparents landed in Ellis Island, the immigration officers almost didn’t let my great-grandma stay, for fear she had some terrible disease.  My great-grandparents managed to convince the officers that she wasn’t sick, just pregnant!

My grandpa’s parents headed west, and eventually landed in Ballentine, MT where they farmed and raised their twelve-children….(there was no reality show documenting their lives, I am sure a show featuring them would have been much more interesting.)

Growing up, my grandpa spoke so much of his love for America that my sister and I came by our patriotism naturally.  He proudly displayed the flag, spoke reverently of his brothers who fought in World War II and Korea.  He loved fireworks and the 4th of July.  I loved to watch the pride in his eyes when someone played The Star Spangled Banner.  My grandpa was a PROUD American.

I think of how disappointed my grandpa would be whenever I hear of someone disrespecting our flag, or speaking ill of our country.  I don’t always believe that the some of the leaders of our country have America’s  best interests in mind, but I do believe that my job is to love my country and pray for those leading it.

I hope you have a blessed 4th of July, enjoy your family, food all while paying homage to a country founded on three amazing principles:  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

God Bless America!



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  1. What an interesting story, Jessica. I am glad that your great-grandmother got to stay! What a tremendous hardship that had to be to travel like that, especially being pregnant! I am thinking this is your mom’s father?

    I hope you had a nice Fourth!


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