When I think about America, I think about what the 13 original Colonies had to do in order to gain their independence against Great Britain and how the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. When I think about my America, I think about how both sides of my family became American citizens.
My great-great-great-great grandfather John Rosko came across on a boat from Russia and the boat he was on docked at Ellis Island. The original spelling of my last name is Roszdko and because my great-great-great-great grandfather had a thick Russian accent, the people at Ellis Island couldn’t understand him very well and the person wrote down his last name as he was saying it, so the spelling of my last name got changed from Roszdko to Rosko.
In 2011 my Design and Drawing Production Class and Construction Class at Campbell-Savona High School made a replica bench of the original Ellis Island and on May 12, 2011, the Campbell-Savona High School Design and Drawing Production Class and Construction Class dedicated the replica bench to Ellis Island. My great-great-great-great grandfather John Rosko’s name is on the Ellis Island Wall of Honor and when I went with my Design and Drawing Production Class to Ellis Island for the bench dedication, I was able to see my great-great-great-great grandfather John Rosko’s name on the Wall of Honor. My dad’s family came across the Atlantic Ocean on the boats from Russia and Ireland while both sides of my mom’s family came across the Atlantic Ocean on the boats from England to Ellis Island to begin a brand new life in America.
My mom’s side of my family has four different bloodlines that came across the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower in 1620 before the 13 original colonies were established and before America was born. Being able to see my great-great-great-great grandfather John Rosko’s name on the Wall of Honor at Ellis Island is part of my America that I am very proud of.
Another part of my America that I am proud of is that I have had family members on my dad’s side of my family that have served in the military and I have one family member on my mom’s side of my family who is currently serving in the military. My great-grandfather Michael Rosko served in the National Guard of the United States as a Private 1st Class Battery G 104th Field Artillery and I am fortune enough to have a copy of my great-grandfather Michael Rosko’s military discharge papers.
My grandfather Francis Rosko served in the US Navy during the Korean War and was stationed in the Netherlands but he never went to Korea and fought in the Korean War. My great-grandfather Simon McMahon served overseas in the US Navy in World War I. My cousin Sonya Lundy has been serving in the US Armysince December 2005 and during her time in the Army, she has served two tours, one tour in Afghanistan and a second tour in Iraq. My cousin Sonya is currently in Georgia receiving military training. Having family members as veterans on my dad’s side of my family and having a family member on my mom’s side of my family makes me feel grateful to have to my great-grandfather Simon McMahon, great-grandfather Michael Rosko, grandfather Francis Rosko, and cousin Sonya Lundy as part of my America. I am also grateful enough to have a copy of my great-grandfather Michael Rosko’s military discharge papers from the National Guard of the United States as a part of my America and as a part of my family history.
The last part of my America that I am proud of is I have one family story on my dad’s side of my family and one family story on my mom’s side of my family that I know of. Baseball is America’s past time and for me baseball is part of my America because of my great-grandfather Simon McMahon. My great-grandfather Simon McMahon played professional baseball for the Syracuse Chiefs (farm team of the St. Louis Cardinals) in the International League. He and his friend “Lefty Halahan” signed papers to play for the Cardinals. After four months, my great-grandfather Simon gave up playing baseball because he was homesick and missedhis family but he never regretted his decision to stop playing baseball. When all the banks during the Great Depression closed, my great-great-grandfather Israel Kingsley was able to keep the bank in East Springfield, PA open.
Having these stories as part of my America is special to me. My America has some parts that I am proud of and knowing I have a family member on the Ellis Island Wall of Honor is something I will always cherish.