They Chose America

If I could sing, I would sing this song.

My grandmother woke up
 in Bivona
a small village in Sicily.

Nutrition was poor
Meat was scarce.
The land was dry.
The hot wind 
blew dust in all directions
as it rested on her face

Two babies died at her breast
her body not able to produce
what was needed to keep them alive

There was a railroad
on a viaduct
that left Bivona
A way out.
A way to hope

Ignazio Lazzara
made a choice 
to leave his home and family 
 for a place of hope.

Leaving Maria behind
He left on that train
from the middle of Sicily
to Palermo

He bought passage on a ship
sailing across the ocean 
With hundreds of others
to an unknown land

clothes on their back
their life in their hands
each one 
anticipating hope

November 12, 1923
my grandfather woke up 
in America
with opportunity

for work
for food
for a future

Six years later
his bride left the village
on the train
for a ship across the ocean

 she woke up in America

december 29, 1930
my father 
woke up in America
a cry his parents cherished
because this time, 
their baby was nourished
and he lived

I woke up in America
though fires rage
droughts ravage
and hurricanes blow

there is opportunity
and choice 
and hope.

Lord, thank you for the place I woke up in today.


  1. This is beautiful! I heard this song the other day, and it was a great reminder for me that I am here for a purpose even though sometimes I'd rather be elsewhere. America is a good place, and I am blessed to be here.

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