Skip to comments.Old elm's time runs out, but war's losers plug on
Posted on 08/01/2009 8:53:33 AM PDT by Ravnagora
I never figured myself for some weepy tree hugger. Not when the village sent the letter about the big elm tree in our front yard, not when the Serbians showed up in the morning.
"You feel bad. This I understand," said Bogdan Mijic, 23, whose father, Nedeljko, and Bogdan's younger brothers, Branislav and Borislav, run the County Tree Service in Stickney.
"People feel sad," said Bogdan, blond hair cropped short, eyes far too old for a young man in his 20s. "They're sad. You lose something. I understand this."
Bogdan lost something too, but of far greater value than a tree. As did his father and his little brothers, and others who work with them, including their cousins and friends like Dusan Skoric, the lean, hawk-faced man with the big mustache, climbing up to the treetops, his saw and straps dangling from a belt.
That big elm tree in our front yard was about 70 feet tall and some 90 years old. I called it the Old Man.
When we brought our newborn twins home from the hospital on a hot day, the Old Man shaded their faces as we carried the boys from the car. Betty and I figured he'd be there long after we'd been planted ourselves. But I didn't think about the Old Man much -- there is another tree out back where I go alone in the evenings to consider my sins. The Old Man was the public tree out front.
Then the village letter arrived, in the impassive and unyielding language of governments everywhere.
"Dear Resident: We are notifying you that there is an elm tree on your property which is infected with the Dutch elm disease. ... This, therefore, is an official notice ..."
(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...
Great post! Loss of the Elm saddens me but, more than that, I know that we were on the wrong side of the war that displaced these good and hardworking people from their homeland. The happy side of this is that they found refuge and work in this land. Current events notwithstanding, I believe that this will remain a land of refuge and that people with good hearts and a willing spirit will continue to be welcome here.
Loved this article. Bravo to a good journalist, John Kass, for writing it!
Here's the comment that I added today, August 1st, and folks can go to the link provided in the article above and post their own comments as well. There are a number of them already.
"An absolutely beautiful piece, Mr. Kass. Your description of this event surrounding the magnificent old Elm tree, the Serbians, and the "meaning" of it all is perfection. I could "see" and "hear" everything as though I was standing right there in your front yard. Many, many things have been written about the Serbs over the last two decades, most of it reflecting a woeful ignorance of the true Serbian mentality and what is in their hearts. You have managed to capture an essence of who they are as a people in this piece about the old Elm tree in your front yard. I love both old trees and Serbians, and your story has deeply touched my heart. Thank you, Mr. Kass."
You made some great points here davisfh.
Something worth noting:
Serbs have been emigrating to America for many decades now, and have always, consistently, remained good, hard working, American citizens throughout the years, regardless of politics. They’ve always appreciated the benefits and opportunities that America provides to immigrants the world over and have always recognized her generous spirit in this regard. The Serbians have given much back to America in many ways. They have never “taken from” America and stabbed her in the back. That cannot always be said of other immigrants that come to this country.
VERY good post, thanks.
I think that the author did a beautiful job contrasting the deep sense of loss that he felt for losing a single elm in his yard, and comparing it to the sense of loss that the Serb tree cutters must feel for having lost their entire homes & country, and been sent running for their lives -- not once but twice.
Current events notwithstanding, I believe that this will remain a land of refuge and that people with good hearts and a willing spirit will continue to be welcome here.
From your mouth to God's Ear and I truly hope so. But for that to be true, we must remain "the land of opportunity". We must remain "the Home of the Brave and Land of the Free". If we lose that idealism & honor, what we will get won't be those hardworking, stout-hearted immigrants, but rather a mass of lost souls with no intention of adapting, instead just figuring out how they can scam us and change our way of life to better fit their own misery.
You're absolutely right and, for the most part, the "lost soul" model is the model that we appear to have been operating in for some time now. I've met a number of gainfully employed, hard working immigrant people in past years and I'm thankful for them but believe that they are exceptions to the lost soul model.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
Abolished the national-origin quotas that had been in place in the United States since the Immigration Act of 1924. It was proposed by Emanuel Celler, co-sponsored by Philip Hart and heavily supported by United States Senator Ted Kennedy.
An annual limitation of 170,000 visas was established for immigrants from Eastern Hemisphere countries with no more than 20,000 per country. By 1968, the annual limitation from the Western Hemisphere was set at 120,000 immigrants, with visas available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The act's supporters not only claimed the law would not change America's ethnic makeup, but that such a change was not desirable. In the Democratic-controlled Congress, the House of Representatives voted 326 to 69 (82.5%) in favor of the act while the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 76 to 18. Opposition mainly came from Southern legislators. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation into law. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 became law on July 1, 1968. Along with the act of 1952, it serves as one of the parts of the United States Code until this day.
By equalizing immigration policies, the Act resulted in a flood of new immigration from non-European nations that changed the ethnic make-up of the United States. Immigration doubled between 1965 and 1970 and doubled again between 1970 and 1990.
A Boston Globe article attributed Barack Obamas win in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election to a marked reduction over the preceding decades in the percentage of whites in the American electorate, attributing this demographic change to the Act. The article quoted Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the New Democrat Network, as having said that the Act is "the most important piece of legislation that no ones ever heard of," and that it "set America on a very different demographic course than the previous 300 years."
The biggest beneficiaries in the mid-1960s-late 70s were folks from places like Greece and Portugal (NY and NJ saw a large influx of people from those countries as soon as the 1965 law was put into effect). The shift to countries like India/Korea, etc. did not start until the late 1970s.
Our "problem" with immigrants from Mexico and Central America is NOT a result of the 1965 law, as immigrants from Mexico were effectively NOT excluded under the 1925 act. The influx of folks from THAT region is more of a result of not enforcing immigration laws on our southern border.
I put immigration from (and through Mexico) in a completely separate category from other immigration from abroad. There was legislation that affected Mexican immigration — the most relevant being that “One time amnesty program” in the 1980s.
I haven’t done a study of it, but I do recall a very large influx of Persians to Southern California in the mid to late 1970’s — just before and after the Iranian Revolution. That was the first big influx of Islam to the US that I can recall. The Persians were basically cool — most were very Western and saw the handwriting on the wall in Iran. (The most famous of which was Bijan.) But just before and mostly after the Persians, were the Saudis, Jordanians & everyone else from the ME, arriving in LA and buying up property in the 1980’s.
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