the power of collective song resonates in my small frame.
from California, to the New York Island
My family made a home in Los Angeles County, just north of Little Taipei from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
after my mother’s father died in Taichung—a place I’ve never been.
My country ’tis of thee
Healthcare was not proficient in Taiwan, now overtaken by militant Chinese revolutionaries
Sweet land of liberty
who lost to Mao and took her father’s father’s property by force.
Of thee I see
Her mother’s father was half European,
Land where my fathers died
a descendent of the Dutch occupation? Nobody knew.
Land of the pilgrim’s pride
The first Christian in the family, he always told the testimony:
From every mountainside
the only survivor from a bus that tumbled down the rocky island cliff,
One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
a branch reached into the window and grabbed his shirt, lifting him from certain death.
by the relief office I saw my people. As they stood hungry
On Sunday, my father approached the pastor for prayer, tapped him on the shoulder.
I stood there wondering if God blessed America for me
He turned, looked my father in the eyes
This land was made for you and me
and ignored him.
Let freedom ring
*Song lyrics in italics are from “This Land is Your Land” by Woodie Guthrie—including a verse of his original satirical lyrics that were never recorded—and “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee)” by Samuel Francis Smith.