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Le Petit Greek

What America Means to Me

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Whatever our heritage, we all treasure our children. They are our future. So when my 12-year old son asked me why I left my home in Greece many years ago to come to America and start a new life, it got me thinking about the treasures I have found here, and how many of those treasures in American culture are so deeply rooted in the philosophy of my ancient homeland.

I decided to share my memories and my thoughts with you, my  friends, my fellow Americans, who find ourselves sharing in this wonderful experience of Los Angeles 2014.

We take pride in our democracy, our freedom of speech, science, medicine, even our style of storytelling in books and movies. I too take pride in them, I feel them personally, knowing all of these evolved from my ancestors, the ancient Greeks.

We Americans strive to be healthy and admire those who are active, in good physical condition, and encourage even our elderly to be active. Every four years, we, as citizens’ of the world take pride in the Olympic Games, an ancient Greek tradition that started in 776 B.C. and continued for 11 centuries.

In the middle of the 5th century B.C., intellectual freedom was the defining feature of Athens. For them the development of the mind was foremost — for a democracy, a government “by the people”, could not exist for future generations without this individual freedom.

As an American, I am deeply moved each time I read the words that begin the Constitution: We the People…. There is  difficulty in the world today; economic hardship here and abroad. Yet no matter how difficult and discouraging life can be, in the end it is still, “We the People”. With that positive and cooperative frame of mind ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

“We the People” have the ability to create the type of society we want to live in and we want to pass on to future generations. That inspires me. That is what I hope will inspire my son.

— Dimitri Houndalas