America Essay Contest: From War-torn Germany to Beverly Hills

November 24, 2020 Updated: December 3, 2020


In 1941, during World War II, I was born in Germany. While many German citizens lived through unspeakable horror, my family remained relatively unharmed. Though we neither had enough food nor heating fuel, we always had a roof over our heads.

The conversations I overheard post-war centered on the oppressive government of the Hitler dictatorship. There was nothing but sarcasm and dark humor expressed by the adults in my life. I realized later that this kind of talk could be understood as the opening of the floodgates following nearly 12 years of mind- and speech-control.

When the Allied Forces occupied Germany in 1945, my home state was under British occupation. Soon I learned that Germany would have remained under the oppression of dictatorship if the Allied forces, with the American military in a leadership role, had not cleaned up its political mess.

Oh, and as a little girl, I had such a good feeling about America when my parents’ American friends began sending us CARE packages. Wow, the corned beef came in a can that had a little key attached for opening. How thoughtful was that?

There was also a coat for me in the CARE package. I was the only child in my neighborhood wearing a reversible coat.

The role the American Air Force played in Germany in supplying the people of Berlin with food, the candy bombers, and later shuttling children from Berlin to spend holidays in their West German country—it was truly an act of compassion. The American military did much to restore the dignity of the German people.

In 1963, I bravely sought greener pastures and I came to the United States.

My first encounter with American generosity occurred at a New York restaurant where I worked as a waitress. I had no prior training and I served breakfast for eight gentlemen. They told me that the service I gave them was the worst they had ever had—but they applauded me for how hard I had tried. There was a handshake that transferred a $20 bill into my hand.

How privileged I felt to experience the magic of a cross-country drive to the West Coast. On the drive west I was amazed to feel temperatures over 100 degrees in Arizona and the comfort of air conditioning.

Along the way I met many friendly people who were welcoming and happy to meet a stranger. Arriving in Beverly Hills, seeing Zsa Zsa Gabor on Wilshire Boulevard, the palm trees, the comfortable climate, the proximity to the Pacific Ocean and a wonderful temporary job through an agency—all that constituted the charm and magic of living in America.

Cars were driving along Wilshire Boulevard with “Goldwater 4 ’64” signs. I had no idea what that meant—yet. After I became a U.S. citizen in 1965, I have voted for each Republican presidential candidate and in the 1990s I served two terms as the president of a Republican women’s organization.

Life on the West Coast was a euphoria-inducing experience. Good jobs, friendly mentors, ever-expanding job opportunities.

My American neighbors opened their doors and hearts to me and also to people of other cultures. Friendships and parties, being treated as a family member, with invitations to all holidays, wedding- and baby-showers, big birthdays, and funerals, were part of my life.

So many good people have accompanied me through times of tears and joy. Being able to buy a house, enjoying sports like sailing, skiing, tennis, golf ,and horseback riding on the wages I earned—all this was possible.

In all my years in the United States I never felt lonely or forgotten and I was convinced that I lived under a fundamentally benevolent government.

That opinion has recently undergone a slight revision: I see the danger of current politicians going to extremes trying to topple their duly elected president. Only temporarily, I hope, is the Left sweeping the American trait of compassion under the carpet.

As the steadfast citizen optimist, I am counting on American ingenuity and voter rejection of the show of lawlessness, to keep this wonderful show going for countless future generations.

America still is the symbol of hope for people worldwide who would love to have the freedom of living up to their full potential. God bless America!

Maren Daglia lives in Napa, California, with her husband Arnold. Retired from a human resources management position with a local winery, she now enjoys golf, swimming, walking, and writing her memoirs.

This essay was entered in the Epoch Times “Why I Love America” contest.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.