I used to live in West Valley City, Utah – a small and quiet place. This year, our family will travel from different States to pay pilgrimage to this wonderful place. Why? Thirty years ago on December 22, 1979 our family of six came to this country with nothing more than the cloths on our backs. We made a life in Utah. I loved the state. We are all going back this year for Christmas.
The memory of Utah has been tainted I supposed. I always remember the people of Utah to be warm and above all very decent people. I could only remember having a wonderful life growing up. After moving out of the state, I would go home whenever I could, especially during the holidays.
This year however, something has changed. Perhaps, I’m more disheartened with people in general, with Utahan for the injustices against our soldiers, one in particular.
Let me share with you a short story. Many years ago a troubled young man drifted around and dropped out of high school, but eventually landed a job in a restaurant. The work was hard and the pay was low but this young man found it within himself to put in his all.
Like many enterprises, the restaurant had many competitors and could barely survive. However, year after year, the never-quit attitude of the people working kept it opened. Inevitable, soon after, the restaurant had to close its doors.
The young man without a place to go or a future, stayed with the owner in a small house on the west side of town. He had no one, it seemed. The business failure was hard on the young man. For a time his situation had worsened and many did pondered his faith in life. Somehow, after a while he took steps to improve his situation by getting his high school diploma and enlisting with the army.
He served this country, his adopted country by risking his life to clear booms in Iraq. He was honorary discharged from the Army after his tour of duties in Iraq. Much older now, the young man returned to Utah.
He wanted to start a family. Moved by this young man, the owner of the restaurant introduced him, through family, to a wonderful girl from his birth country. I attended the wedding. It was a turning chapter in his life. He was so happy, then. He and his bride looked good as a couple – a perfect match.
After the marriage, he took steps to have her join him in Utah. He found work at two jobs to make money so that he could provide for his new family. Upon advice from his family, he purchased a home. Slowly, he decorated it, upon what he thought, his wife’s impending arrival.
I visited him in his home. He had so much joy and pride on his face showing me around. Proud that he saved what he earned to build his matrimonial home. Joyous that he and his lovely wife will be building a life together in this house.
Tragically, the wife never showed up. They did not have the life or family they had planned. There were no wedding receptions in Utah to speak of. As if they had never gotten married, but for the few of us who were there, we knew he got married.
It wasn’t because he and his wife didn’t get along. It wasn’t because both didn’t try to make the marriage work. And no, she did not die nor did he. All this time the couple stayed true to each other. However, just a month ago, the couple decided to let go of each other, move on with their lives and parted ways.
Ironically, the country he fought for and almost gave up his life for had turned her back on him. For three and half years, he battled the US Immigration office as well as the government officials in Utah, pleaded with them to allow his bride to migrate to Utah under a legal immigration law and rights of a citizen.
The young man, a US Soldier, against all of the odds in life, had little but never seemed to quit. But now, facing the seemingly insurmountable US Immigration, he did just that, he gave up.
It seemed that a betrayal by the country he loved was too much for one soldier to take.
Copyrighted 2009 Farting Camel