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A typical airline trip for me, whether it's to represent TravelPulse on company business or for my own personal travel, generally goes something like this.
I pack up a carry-on bag in my upstate New York home.
I check an app on my smartphone for the train schedule, and to make sure my flight is still on time.
I get in the car and drive to the train station.
I click on an app on my smartphone to purchase tickets to the Metro North train to New York City, and to make sure my flight is still on time.
I get on a Metro North commuter train bound for Grand Central Terminal.
I check an app on my smartphone that gives me real-time NYC traffic information, and to make sure my flight is still on time.
I take a taxi to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
I check an app on my smartphone that gives me information on airport security wait times, and to make sure my flight is still on time.
I arrive safely at my gate, on time, and jet off to another adventure.
Fairly unremarkable, right?
See, though, there is something remarkable about it all.
That carry-on bag that I packed at home? A man named Bernard Sadow invented the first rolling suitcase in 1972. His ancestors immigrated to the United States and settled in Massachusetts.
The car ride over a highway? The train commute on railroad tracks? It has been well-documented that immigrants to the U.S. helped build those roads and railroads - European immigrants on the east coast, Chinese on the west.
My NYC taxi ride? I have been in cabs driven by someone from Yemen and Somalia, as well as countless other nationalities, religions and races. Trust me when I say the gentlemen from Yemen and Somalia were as well-versed in navigating the back streets and side roads and shortcuts of NYC as well as anyone. Maybe more so.
My flight? I suppose air travel would always have been invented by someone. Maybe even the Wright Brothers themselves. But not in this very country. Not on a beach in North Carolina. Not if one of their ancestors, Samuel Wright, hadn't decided to get on a boat at the age of 30 in 1636 and come and see what these colonies were all about, settling in Massachusetts.
Oh, and the constant checking of the travel information applications on the smartphone? Thank you, Steve Jobs, whose biological father was a Syrian immigrant.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, and the evolution of the travel industry is no exception to the amount of work and credit that immigrants deserve in helping build what we know today.
In the wake of President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven primarily Muslim nations for at least 90 days, all Americans have been walking a fine line. Razor thin, some might say. There is a need to secure our borders in this new world, yes. Absolutely. But there is also a need to uphold the values that built this country, including welcoming and harboring all who come here legally.
I am hard-pressed to find an analogous example, even hypothetically, other than to say this would be like England or France saying thank you to the U.S. for jumping into the fray of World War II and saving both countries.
And then both saying, "Thanks! Now don't come back."
In some respects, remembering all that immigrants have done to help construct and grow the travel industry in the U.S., and the world, helps us to hearken back to our roots.
Hearken back to where and what we once were.
To where we are at the moment.
And to whom we want to be.
Rich Thomaselli has written for TravelPulse since 2014 and has been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. His work has...
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