PBS has the first two episodes available online to watch. Amongst others, Dr. Stephen T. Colbert himself is participating in the project. Oh and other less famous people. Like Meryl Streep.
Kristi Yamaguchi's family history totally had me tearing up. Not only were both sides of her family forced into interment camps, her mother was born in a camp WHILE her grandfather was fighting for the US (and he was the only Japanese man in his troop). There's a part where she's reading out the marriage certificate between her grandparents and they're described as yellow. :-( The treatment of Asian immigrants (and Asian Americans) is such an ugly blight on America.
Colbert's history involves the famine as he's part Irish. It is so messed up when Colbert reads out a statement made by an English businessman to Parliament about how totally awesome it is that the famine happened because now they can get rid of all those poor Irish by shipping them off to the Americas. Then there's the bit where the shipping manifestos are read out about all the food exported out of the port of Limerick during the famine. It turns out those ships that carried off the "paupers" (poor) would only take entire families, which is how Colbert's great-plus grandfather and family came to America. By being exported away from their homeland. Goddamn.
Similar to several of the participants of this series, the reasons why my mom's family moved to America (both maternal and paternal) are unclear or have become shrouded due to the older generation(s) just not talking about it. I don't know whether or not my mom's last name (maiden name, I should say, she changed her name when she got married) was made up at Ellis Island or if it's the original name because when I try to ask my grandpa any questions about the history of his family's immigration all he says is "we came over when they all did". So. That's all I have to work on from my grandpa's side. Irish, possibly came to America due to the famine.
Perhaps it's my terribly myopic American point of view, but I've always been fascinated by the stories of how and why people came to America. It's hard stories, these kind, full of struggles and hardships, but important stories to understand and most importantly, to remember.
I'm a fucking sap. Tonight I'll watch some Olympics. Johnny Weir will break my fucking heart by not skating clean while I'll quietly root for the Japanese skaters (loved Daisuke Takahashi's short programs) and not be surprised that Plushenko wins his second gold because that's how figure skating rolls.