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Our Great American Soup This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Sitting on a bench in the park bythe town houses, I watched the few people who had braved the icy December weatherto frolic in this winter playground. Only one man seemed unhappy as he leanedagainst the building near my bench. His thin body was barely hidden by shreds ofworn-out clothes, while his untidy black hair was matted to his forehead. Helooked as if he could use a good meal and a warm, loving hug. As I watched, hegot up and knocked on one of the doors. A thin, sallow-faced woman in a purpleshawl and brown dress answered. She immediately gave him a look of pure loathing.The man, appearing quite uncomfortable, asked for a loaf of bread. Disgusted, thewoman shouted something and slammed the door in his face. A wave of anger washedover me. Why had she turned down this poor man? He was not asking for a car, justa simple loaf of bread, something most of us take for granted. Then Iunderstood.

The man was different, he was Middle Eastern.

I wantedto stand on my bench and shout at that woman. After all, America is only specialbecause of its diversity. We need to learn as much as we can about each other sothat we understand each other. We may even discover some fascinating informationabout "America under construction." Then, we will not discriminate because of ethnic background.

My thoughts returned to the man whostarted toward the next building. Feeling driven by what I knew was right, Iwalked to him and slipped my milk money into his hand. He stared at the 25 cents.When he looked up at me, he wore an ear-to-ear, jack-o'-lantern smile that didnot seem to fit his skinny face. To my surprise, he spoke in lightly accentedEnglish.

"You do not have any idea what this means to me. Never,in all of my life, have I ever seen someone so young give so freely. I wasbeginning to think that moving to America was a mistake, but now I feeldifferently. If the smallest in body is the biggest in heart, then America'sfuture is brighter than ever." His simple but meaningful words will ring inmy ears for years to come.

That man reminded me that America is like agiant pot of soup. Every ethnic background in America is special because it playsa part in making a very delicious American soup. Each ethnic ingredient addsflavor. Without it, both the soup and America would be bland.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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