My Abuelo (my grandfather) is 89 years old. He is a wonderful Christian man who sacrificed much to give his family the best life he could. In many ways, the gifts and blessings of my life and the lives of my children, cousins and various other family members are all due to the hard work and sacrifice of my grandfather, Ramon. And he LOVES the United States of America.

About 50 years ago Ramon fled Cuba (with his wife, 2 sons and 2 daughters) and the harsh dictatorship of Fidel Castro for the Promised Land that was the USA. Richard Nixon was President, and my grandfather was still angry with the now deceased JFK because of his blunders at the Bay of Pigs – which is part of the reason he had become a staunch supporter of the Republican Party.

After years of living and working in Miami and then New York City, my grandfather finally became a citizen of the United States – earning the right to vote. It was a proud day. It was a joyous day. He had earned the right to tell the world that he was an American.

I was born near the end of the Carter administration and at the dawn of the prosperous age of Reagan, and my childhood reflected that. I lived in a home with interior plumbing and carpeted floors. I went to a private school and always had the latest toys and gadgets. Just 20 years removed from communist Cuba, and my family had gone from the dusty life of poor rural farmers in the Cuban hill country to the suburban life of middle class America! My grandfather did this.

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