Monday, December 23, 2013

HISTORY - The Inspiration of Normandy Villa

"A chance encounter leads to a story of immigrant success" PBS Newshour 12/22/2013


JOHN LARSON:  As a correspondent, I’ve travelled more than 2 million miles on assignment, usually in a hurry, rushing to one story after another.  But along the way, I noticed that the most powerful stories - often weren’t where I was heading to or coming from at all, but in between.  And usually, sitting right next to me.

For example, I was flying American Airlines 2473, Boston to Dallas.  I was in 21C.  Next to me In 21B: Normandy Villa.

As we headed south across the skis above Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Normandy shared such a story with me, that when his family invited me to join them six weeks later near their home in New Jersey, I accepted.

To understand what’s going on here, you should know two things: first, even though the family comes from Colombia, Normandy is named after one of the more important moments in American history.

NORMANDY VILLA:  The Battle of Normandy in France, in 1941 was the beginning of the liberation of Europe, and my grandfather saw that as such a powerful moment in history, that he wanted to have his family carry a name that referred to a new dawn.  And so, the first born in the family received the name Normandy.

JOHN LARSON:  That first born was this man, Normandy Sr.

Which brings us to the second thing.  Senior would also hear something American that would inspire him.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY:  Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country …
JOHN LARSON:  Normandy’s father said the promise that brought them to America had almost nothing to do with making more money, or having a big house -- remember, they had that.  It had more to do with what his father heard it in the guns of Normandy, and what he heard in JFK -- that Americans at their very core are people who serve others.

When you meet the Villas, and understand their sacrifice, you can’t help but wonder if maybe the Great Lady’s gaze is not scanning the horizon for opportunity as many believe, but instead checking to see what we’ve done with ours.

No comments: