Monday, September 19, 2011


Admir waits tables at Henry's Diner, located near Burlington, Vermont's town square. At 22, Admir is tall, has handsome features and is clean-cut, well-spoken and nicely mannered. In 1999, he, his parents and his now 20-year-old brother, Nerman, emigrated from Bosnia. Following the Bosnian war, the country's economy was depressed and many workers lost their jobs, including Admir's father, a police officer, and his mother, a nurse.

I asked Admir about his life in America.

"We like it here," he said. "People have jobs and can even work more than one job. People can go to school. In Bosnia, only rich people can go to school."

Admir, Nerman and their parents all work two jobs. By day, their mother works for a dry cleaner and their father works at the Burton Chocolate Factory. During the night, all four of them clean office buildings for the Burton Cleaning Company.

About the Burton's, Admir appreciatively said, "They are good people."

In addition to Admir's jobs, he is also working on a degree in business management from the University of Vermon, located in Burlington.

America is a nation of immigrants, be they from Europe, Africa, Asia, Mexico, South America or elsewhere. Admir's work ethic and enterprising spirit are an inspiration. In this nation of plenty, many of us have grown soft, lazy and entitled.
America's "unemployed" must get off their royal duffs and, with the humility and determination of their immigrant forebears, go back to work, even if they think that work is "beneath" them.

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