Sunday, November 28, 2010

My friend, Pete, and the American Dream

I have a friend named Pete who’s had a dangerous life. He was of elementary school age when Eichmann wired the Budapest ghetto with explosives. Luckily for Pete and his fellow Jews, The Russians entered Budapest the day before it was to be blown to bits. They were spared, only to come under Russian rule, which on some days was less anti-semitic than that of the Germans.
But Pete and his wife, Marta, who had also been in that ghetto as a child, lived under the Soviet regime until 1956, when a friend stole an army truck and 16 men, women and children drove out of Hungary into freedom in Austria.
A Jewish charity brought them to America and he became an engineer for some of America’s biggest companies. When he retired he owned one of the small companies that make our country so productive.
I remembered back 20 years ago when I complained that the Japanese were beating us, and  buying up Pebble Beach and a lot of prime American real estate. Pete looked at me and told me you can never give up on America, the country that had given him freedom and prosperity. He was right of course, Japan's stock market is worth a third of what it was in 1989 and the land under the Emperor’s Palace is no longer worth as much as the land in California
The other day, feeling discouraged about our debt and the fact that it is China that is now eating our lunch, I was worrying about the United States. However, I thought of what Pete, the consummate American, would say to me. He would tell me never to give up on our country, and that this is just another bump in the road in the journey of a free nation toward its destiny.

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