To the Editor:

Mark Winegar, in his Saturday, Aug. 17 opinion piece, has so mangled the translation of the former motto of the United States “E pluribus unum” that it makes no sense. The actual translation is “Out of (E) many (pluribus) one (unum) or “From many one.” It originally referred to the union of the several states into one unified nation. Later it was assumed to also refer to the fact that many immigrants come to make one unified country which seems to be something overlooked today.

Formerly, immigrants — my own grandfather was one of them — came to this country and became Americans, losing the status of immigrants after taking up residence here. In fact, my grandfather had to return to his native country after arriving here the first time and try again to immigrate.

After settling here, he made sure that his neighbors and friends knew that he and his family were 100 percent Americans to the extent that, during and forever after World War I, he forbade his children to speak his native German which they had learned at home.

Those contributions Winegar speaks of were made by people who immigrated and became Americans. They were not immigrants anymore; that was a condition they went through for a time. They became American citizens and as such contributed to their chosen country and, thus, they helped to make America great.

We do live up to our ideals as a country and every day accept legal immigrants as full fledged citizens. We are a country based on laws and open our doors to those who will accept and follow these laws. It is only in the eyes of some that our president’s motto is a set back and contributes to strife. It is the hatred of those who oppose him that contributes to this strife.

Mary Rybak