On January 9, 1986, my parents landed in the United States after a two-month stint in Italy following their escape from Soviet-occupied Lithuania in October 1985. 30 years later, they still love America more than ever before–despite malcontents in power positions trying to undermine her.
For this occasion, my sister and I wanted to surprise our parents with a gift they would cherish forever to mark this special occasion: lunch at a fancy waterfront near an airport (Reagan National) to give them a nostalgic reminder of how they arrived here–by plane. What better way to mark their arrival to the U.S. than this?
People get confused about our country of origin when we say Lithuania is our ancestral homeland. They think my sister and I were born abroad, when in fact, we were born stateside. (Fun fact:I was the first person in my immediate family to be born in the U.S.! I wear that as a tremendous badge of honor.) That makes my sister Anna Maria and I proud first-generation Americans!
I often share my family’s story to give others a sense of who I am. For without my family and my Lithuanian heritage, I wouldn’t be the young conservative activist and outdoor enthusiast I am today. My family’s struggles in the former USSR taught me many valuable lessons about appreciating faith, family, freedom, and free enterprise. They lived the socialist, Marxist nightmare many Democrats desire to implement here. They know firsthand America is the last beacon of freedom on earth.
My parents came to this country virtually penniless and with more limited English speaking capabilities. America was a strange new land for them. After picking up valuable skills, assimilating, settling in, and getting citizenship, they realized their potential and fulfilled the American dream. My dad owns a construction company, while my mom spent many years in corporate America working as a technological consultant. They are the best Americans I know. Imagine that–folks who lived behind the Iron Curtain to tell the tale AND become naturalized, red-blooded Americans? Only in America.
I’m proud of my legal immigrants parents and happily share their story. I wish more politicians would share these kinds of immigration stories instead of stories that appeal to crony capitalists and big government statists.
On this 30th Freedomversary celebration of my parents’ arrival to the United States, I want to reflect by thanking my wonderful parents–who’ve been married for nearly 34 years–for coming here and allowing us to be born here. We love you and will continue to cherish you forever!