The Statute of Liberty on Ellis Island in New York is the most well-known symbol of immigration in America. This monument is, most definitely, the most famous symbol of freedom in the world! What many forget is the “Ellis Island of the West”, Angel Island. A small island located in the San Francisco Bay, Angel Island, was the gateway to the U.S. for many Chinese immigrants. One of those Chinese immigrants was my girlfriend’s grandmother.
We wanted to go visit the island, especially the pier and barracks where she may have been held. She was held in primitive conditions for almost nine months! It always blows my mind how good we have it here and what a gift it is to be born in America. These stories just reaffirm the opportunity we have here and what people around the world will do to get here. The island is much bigger than we had anticipated as we disembarked off the Tiburon Ferry. The boat was full of people going to the island for all sorts of activities including cycling, hiking, and even wedding events!
We hiked about 2 miles and reached the area of the island where the immigrants would first step foot on U.S. soil. As we looked out from the pier onto the bay, I imagined it 65 years ago when boats were arriving with tired, scared, and very brave people! After envisioning Jodie’s grandma’s arrival, we started towards the barracks where many American citizens to be were held until they could get their paperwork processed and their stories straight. The barracks were exactly how they were left 50 years ago! Every American citizen should explore these areas of the United States in order to give them perspective on great it is to be an American.