At a young age, you can think of what your own opinion of an American creed could be but until you sit down and look at your life and goals set you won't fully understand what that creed is. When given the task to find and talk about what my own American creed is I was both confused and also intrigued. Looking at your life and all things achieved both big and small and also thinking about what you want to achieve is draining. After three days of close examination of this idea with the help of my parents and family, I came up with this idea. As an American, I believe my Creed is not about what I can achieve but how I can help others achieve their own American Creeds. This idea of my American creed came to me when I fully examined my family and how everything they told me and thought me follows this idea.
Growing up in a very close family environment some things do not change throughout generations. For example, Going to the same church my great great grandparents went and eating Sunday dinner after on the same wooden table that my great grandma ate her first Christmas dinner at almost 90 years ago. Being lucky enough to know my great grandma for nine years has given me a perspective of someone who did not grow up in a life where things were given but where she had to fight for what she had. My great Grandma may have one of the most influential and life-changing stories about how she achieved our families and now my American Creed.
She was born in 1928 in New Haven, Connecticut her parents were immigrants from the Soviet Union more commonly known now as Belarus. When her parents took her and her sister to Belarus to see their family. What they thought was gonna be a one year trip quickly turned to a six-year escape. With the looming threat of World War Two and the communist government holding strict reign over the whole Soviet Union, they were quickly trapped and forced to conform to the Soviet ideals. During her time in the Soviet Union, she went to a school for skills and faced adversity as one of the only women allowed into the school system. In 1934 my great great grandfather was imprisoned by the Soviet Union because of the idea that he had hidden money. After about six months in prison, he was given a choice to give up his money or face a firing squad. According to my Great Grandmother, He took his ring off and placed on the table stood up and walked to the firing line and proclaimed “The ring is all I have taken if you want just do not take my life.” This proclamation in front of the firing line saved his life and he was later released back to his family. As 1935 came around my great great grandmother with the help of the United States Embassy smuggled my family out of the Soviet Union right into communist Germany. They spent four months escaping the strict and powerful Nazi rules until they got to Paris. According to my Great Grandmother “This is when I finally felt free when we could see the red, white, and blue stripes on the flag.” The story leaves Europe when they finally get to a boat to take them to New Jersey.
After a two week journey over the Atlantic ocean, they were finally reunited with their home country. After about a week of travel, they were able to get back to what they thought was their home in New Haven. However, they had been gone so long that their house was destroyed and most of their close friends had moved away. There was one thing still there and it was the church that my great great grandfather help built about 10 years before they left to Russia. For about the next six years the church would be their home till they were able to rebuild their American lives.
When they finally kick-started their new life in America they found it necessary to help people in the position they were in just a few years back. They did this a few ways the first was helping them be a part of the church community. By using the church as a refuge for people from all over the world trying to start their new life they were able to talk and help people through a rough time. A big part of my great great grandparent's life in America was when they were finally able to open their own restaurant. When it was finally complete they would host dinner for the whole church and to anyone looking for a meal. To them, this was what their American creed felt like helping people around them and that's why it is so important to me.
On March 7, 1942, My great grandmother married my great grandfather in the same church where her family helped all those people and where I still go to church this day. What many refer to now as a safe place was not always that safe and during the cold war being seen in a Russian church was highly questionable. After serving in world war two my great grandfather could be one of the most patriotic men I have ever met but like his wife, he strongly believed in the Russian Orthodox church. As the Cold War heightened in 1963 the church was threatened and he said enough. He stood on the front of the church for few days rotating with other members who had served in the army waving an American flag proclaiming they were not traitors. I am proud to say my great grandfather is the reason I can go to a Russian Orthodox church and can practice religion so close to my heart.
In conclusion, my American Creed has been instilled through my family and what they have done in the past to help me get to where I am now. Choosing my creed made me look back and reflect on past stories and events which broadened my overall view of my family. This project in a way forced me to watch a tape my great grandmother left me before she died which gave me great insight into my family history while letting me reconnect with her. So finally, the idea of helping others achieve their American Creed is one of the most important things in my life and that is what makes it my own American Creed.
Cherniasky, Helen. “My Lifes Journey.” Lee Olsen Classroom, 21 March 2000
Bosse, Anne. Personal interview. 5 June 2019.
Robin, Milberg. Personal interview. 5 June 2019.
Cherniasky, Jean. Personal Interview. 5 June 2019.