A true American
Larry Berentzen, a WWII Norwegian freedom fighter.
Larry became a proud American Citizen after going through unimaginable hardship getting to and into the United States. Imprisoned when he arrived in San Pedro, CA, then deported to Mexico, Larry made and saved money by supplying Mexican bacon to cities north of the border.
Post war, Larry returned to the United States, and was told that he could not live within 100 miles of an ocean, so he chose Portland, Oregon (which is a seaport 110 miles inland).
Larry was a proud Elk until his death in 2006. This is his statement at an Immigration Hearing in June 1948.
"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon, if I can. I seek opportunity, not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen humbled and dulled by having the State look after me. I want to take the calculated risk ... to dream, to build, to fail, to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the calm state of utopia. I will not trade my freedom for benefits, nor my dignity for a handout. It is my heritage to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefits of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say:
THIS I HAVE DONE. ALL THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN AMERICAN."
Larry Berentzen Proud American, Proud Elk June 20, 1948 Immigration and Naturalization District Court Portland, OR USA
Back to top