After Sam Harris had been in the United States for only three years, he wrote an essay called “Highlight Spot of My Life.” Sam had survived the Holocaust, had come to America at age twelve and was adopted by a family who lived in Northbrook, Illinois. He reads his essay in a video on our blog. We decided we would also like the followers of our blog to have an opportunity to read Sam’s essay, which we consider both remarkable and noteworthy. The original of Sam’s essay is on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
HIGHLIGHT SPOT OF MY LIFE
America is indeed the best place on earth. Most people born in America may not think of that the same way I do because all the freedoms come to them as natural as breathing. I, being born in Europe and living there through the war, have a different respect for democracy as being practiced in the United States.
Not until about three and a half years ago did I know what Democracy was. Then the day came. I moved to this free country. This was a complete change for me in the way people lived and the language they spoke. In none of the countries I have been, including Poland, my birthplace, Austria or Germany, did the people move so freely and live in such modern ways. When still in the harbor on the ship, the Ernie Pyle, I stared at all the million lights, which brightened the night. Between the huge buildings and our ship on the water there lay a little island on which rested the Statue of Liberty. Even not knowing yet what this huge figure was, I stared at it with great interest. Then I questioned. When I realized what it symbolized, that much more my eyes brightened with freedom and my heart beat like the drums of peace.
Now I have lived in this heaven for three and a half years, and still I think of these first visions of real human life, which people all over the whole world should some day experience. My heart, I should hope, will never let me forget the sight of liberty my eyes saw on the first night in America. “G-d bless America.”