A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS

AP News
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Posted: Aug 29, 2012 9:12 PM
A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS

America is a land of immigrants. And pride in that heritage has been all over the place during the last two nights of the GOP convention. Speaker after speaker told stories of family roots beyond America — and of how the struggles faced by those immigrants helped forge their own values.

For New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, it was reminiscing about his Irish father and his Sicilian mother (she was the family's real force, he noted).

For South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, it was recounting how her Indian immigrant parents instilled in their children a deep gratitude that they were growing up in America.

And for South Dakota Sen. John Thune, it was the memory of how his grandfather — one of two Norwegian brothers — came to America in 1906 knowing how to say only two things in English, "apple pie and coffee."

At Ellis Island, immigration officials decided their last name — Gjelsvik — was too difficult and asked them to change it. They picked "Thune," the name of the farm where they worked in Norway.

"Like many Americans," Thune said, "I've been blessed by the hard work and sacrifice of those who've come before."

It was a refrain that filled the hall again and again.

— Sally Buzbee

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