Friday, September 2, 2011

1927, 1977 and 2011

When I first came to the US in 1977 to study teacher education at the University of Illinois I had no idea I would be writing this blog 34 years later (even if blogs had existed in 1977). I graduated with my PhD in 1982 and began the long job search in an era when teacher education programs were being reduced because too many new teachers were hitting the job market. My wife Lucie and I ended up, unbelievably fortuitously, in Vermont where we have been ever since. We have never regretted the move for a single minute.

The flood of a week ago has again reinforced our belief that Vermont is one of the best places to live on Earth. Many of our neighbors in Richmond suffered significant flood damage and one of them quoted President Calvin Coolidge while thanking everyone for their support and countless acts of kindness as she dealt with the clean-up process. The quote was made by Coolidge when he visited Vermont after the epic flood of 1927 which downed over 100 bridges and caused much loss of life and suffering.

In 1927 Calvin Coolidge said " I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people. They are a race of pioneers who have almost beggared themselves to serve others. If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the Union, and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont".

It has been quite remarkable to watch people come together to solve problems, support each other, lend a hand and restore the basic elements of life that we all too often take for granted.
This, for me, is the reality of my American dream.

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