What does Ellis Island mean to me? To me Ellis Island is a historical landmark. It is a part of American history that will never be forgotten. For many families it was their only way to freedom. To me Ellis Island was a test; a test to see if one can be a citizen. Apparently I failed that test, and couldn’t enter the United States, because I was a single woman. I believe that wasn’t fair because if woman are coming with children, then they can’t work and benefit the country, but if they are alone they can have many more opportunities.
I can’t really relate to Ellis Island because my family came to the United States with their visas and by plane. They passed through customs and were allowed entrance to the land of the free. They didn’t have to be cramped into small rooms, take literacy tests, or go through strict testing in order to determine if they were sick or not. I guess you can say my parents had it easy. The reason they left Egypt was because my dad wanted a better opportunity and wanted us to have the best education. In Egypt if you missed behaved in school the teachers could slap you or smack you with the ruler; they were basically free to do whatever they wanted to you and you couldn’t complain. My father didn’t want us to go through that torture, so he left his family and loved ones behind and came to America to start a new life for our family; we went back after a year to marry my mom then brought her over to America too.
The first time I went to Ellis Island was on the day of this trip. I was amazed at all the treasurers collected from each country. However, I was surprised when I saw all the rooms the people stayed in, they were awful, and all the exams these poor people had to pass or their dream was dead. It saddened me to see how cruel the United States was at that time to people, but then again it was necessary. We couldn’t allow everyone in the country; we couldn’t expose the Americans that were already here to unknown diseases and illnesses. Something that I found amazing was that they made people take literacy tests, but the amazing part was that these tests were passages from the Bible. That completely blew my mind because I found it interesting that they chose the Bible. However it made me wonder what would happen if you couldn’t read the Bible, you were a different religion; would you read the passage in order to have a better future or would you deny to read it and be sent back home?
In conclusion even though I cannot relate to Ellis Island, I still believe it’s a historic landmark that should not be forgotten. I believe that St. John’s should continue to have these trips to Ellis Island because for some students, like me, this could be the first and only chance students can get to go to Ellis Island. Ellis Island is a beautiful landmark that should be preserved forever; it is a symbol of America’s beginning. That is what Ellis Island means to me.