Before I headed to New York, I quizzed my parents about our family history. I wanted to know if there was anyone I should look up while I was at the Ellis Island Museum. Both of them said that none of our family came through Ellis Island and that both sides had been on the continent for much longer then that. I don't know if this makes me a Daughter of The Revolution, but I wouldn't be surprised to discover if dad's side was with the bunch of Scots sent over to get them out of prison.
What I did learn at Ellis Island was that it was a damn trial to get through and that a person really wanted to be in this country to go through the things they went through. We did the audio tour, which is something I normally wouldn't bother with, but for the Ellis Island Museum it's a must. The audio tour includes interviews from people who actually entered this country through the island. Some of these stories where sweet and funny, but many of them where heartbreaking tales. This museum requires tissue.
The best part is outside at the back of the museum. They have a wall listing all the names that came through Ellis Island. We all split up and starting hunting names. I found Grahams, McCools, and Tuckers. I forgot to look for Bennetts, my dad's Mother's side of the family, but I know so little of that side of the family. It makes me want to learn more.
I thought just going to the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July was patriotic, but it was Ellis Island that really made me feel blessed and lucky. Ellis Island tells the story of what it really means to be an American, the struggle and the fight for something better. I think these are things that many of us struggle for today, that whole something better. Seeing the hardship that many went through makes me realize that I already have that something better.