Recently I saw a copy of the poem engraved at the feet of the Statue Of Liberty.
It made me think of my own ancestors, who came to America before Ellis Island. Some came here as indentured servants in the 1500s, one came from Ireland to avoid starvation by getting paid to fight for the South in the Civil War. Others came over from England, Scotland and Germany during the gold rush, most of them to escape from poverty.
Here's a copy of that famous poem by Emma Lazarus:
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Where did your ancestors come from?