Indulge me a personal family story.
There is an emotional article in the New York Times today about immigrant (foreign-born) American soldiers of WWI, troops which include both of my Italian-born grandfathers, who both emigrated to the U.S. in 1907 (coincidence, they didn’t know each other.)
One was a skilled tailor who, according to his self-published memoir, spent most of the war in England fitting officers’ uniforms and sewing bars on their shirts. A low-level infantryman, he claimed they took him off K.P. duty and found him a sewing machine, once they learned of his skills.
The other, illiterate in both his native and adopted languages, was in the battle in France described in the first sentence of this article. His unit went ahead of troops, under fire, to fill holes in roads so tanks and trucks could advance, and to cut barbed wire at night outside trenches, so troops could advance at daybreak. He survived.
Both took advantage of loosened naturalization requirements for veterans to get American citizenship after they returned.
The tailor went on to found a clothing store, build a house and raise a large family: successful.
The hole filler came back a damaged man and never recovered: shell shocked, drinker, worked menial jobs the rest of his life, unable to support his family adequately.
My takeaway: Get an education and a technical skill, to have choices over the trajectory of your own life. My parents together provided that advantage to me, and I am thankful every day.
(Click on link below to read story at source.)