It is not common for a candidate for Attorney General of the United States to break down and cry during the Senate confirmation process. To be unable to speak. To stop – and become encouraged again. But to continue with difficulty. To stop, again, and continue with a cracked, hoarse voice, finally completing his presentation.
What happened? New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker asked Merrick Garland why he wanted to take on the responsibility of serving as Attorney General.
And then, with the difficulty I described above – and which you can see here
https://twitter.com/axios/status/1363913288447311886 – he replied: “I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution. A country took us in and protected us. And I feel an obligation to the country to pay back.”
If only his grandparents were alive to hear him!
But it is not only that. It is that this man knows, honors, and respects his origins. And his children will follow his example. And their children. And their children's children…
This is how a people survives.
You can tell me that the example of American Jews is different from other minorities.
They have – in their relatively recent history – an unprecedented and barbaric experience. They faced the possibility of the extinction of their race in one of the most horrific ways imaginable.
But they could have kept it quiet. And tried to … let it go and … move on….
But on the contrary – and to their honor – they keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. “Never forget” is their motto, because they know that is the only way to prevent it from happening again.
We Hellenes Abroad are not far behind American Jews in this matter.
We have preserved to a high degree the memory of the genocide of the Pontian Greeks and those that were part of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, and to this day we insist on remembering and passing on these memories to the new generations.
The arrival of the relatives of the victims to the U.S. sparked and – to a large extent – guided the life of our Community for decades.
We have preserved to a very high degree the memory of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Cypriots in the U.S. continue their struggle, to fight, after 47 years, albeit to a lesser extent – mainly due to the frustration they feel with the political situation in Cyprus – for their homeland.
But there are also serious gaps. There are forces pulling us apart.
That is to be expected to some degree, you will say. Yes, but it has grown to alarming proportions.
Our children and grandchildren are wronging themselves if they think they dropped onto America from the heavens above. Man cannot survive and flourish with that kind of mentality. He needs to be grounded. Not to feel like a feather tossed in the wind.
He does not lose anything by proudly expressing his identity.
Look at today’s judge and tomorrow's Attorney General, Merrick Garland. Did he lose anything by expressing his passion for his origins, his roots, his history?
Isn't he also an American role model?