Sunday, August 12, 2007

If I Can Make it to Manhattan, I Can Make it Anywhere

Before crossing the border into the United States, a voice came over the PA system explaining we were heading into the States, and that customs officials would be boarding the train. The voice went on to explain that while the customs officials were on board, they had control over the train, and could detain us for as long as they wished, further that while the customs officials had control of the train, we were not to get up out of our seats, unless specifically instructed by the customs officials, and that the coffee car was closed. I had to use the bathroom.

We crossed over the Niagra River, and the train slowly moved into the rail yard in Niagra Falls, New York. Then the train stopped and backed onto a siding. As the customs people came through and checked our paperwork, telling some people to take their baggage and get off the train, I imagined how it must have been for Jewish people escaping Nazi Germany, with the train stopping just before the border, officials boarding the train, and some people escorted off the train never to be seen again. The American customs officials who boarded my train were very friendly, professional and courteous, they weren’t like Nazis at all. Not even a little bit.
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