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Hi from the USA

Extracts from an email about the USA from Lynn Manning Ross, CALIFORNIA

It is a vast land with 282 million people and 3,000 miles from the Pacific Ocean on the West to the Atlantic Ocean on the East. I think I like the redwood trees the best. They are so majestic that walking in the redwood forest is like being in a holy place. Of course, there are beautiful beaches and the terrain varies from deserts and mountains to the famous Grand Canyon.

The land was first settled by Indians about 20,000 years ago and today the people come from many nations. About 65 percent of the people are Caucasian, 12 percent are black, 15 percent are Latino from many Spanish-speaking countries, 4 percent are Asian representing 18 different nationalities and languages. Another 4 percent come from lands all over the world and among others, include 1,000,000 Arabs from different lands as well.

What you read and see on TV about the United States is "sortía" true. By "sortía" I mean that most people dress and act nice not like the famous singers and stars you see.

Let me tell you a story about my ancestors. My family helped settle America in the mid-1600s on my motherís side of the family. My dadís family arrived from Europe in the early 1700ís. An Indian killed one of my ancestors around 1629. Another ancestor fought for the south in the Civil War. Later, in the early 1900s, my great grandfather's bank was robbed by outlaws.

My great grandfather made the famous "Run into Oklahoma" and the very first man to build a "wooden frame" house. That probably doesnít seem too important until you know that all of the houses in the territory were log cabins. The wooden frame house was made from cut wood like we have today so it was a very difficult thing to do then.

Thanksgiving from Mr Henderson, TEXAS

This is Thanksgiving Day in America (Nov 25). The original holiday celebration came one year after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Pennsylvania. 1620 was a terrible year for weather. Americaís original immigrants (the Indians, now called Native Americans, were already here) faced six inches of snow on the ground, howling wind, and rain. They landed during a pause in the storm, and scratched out a meager existence for the next few months, during which time, half their party died of illness. In time, the Native Americans would introduce themselves, welcome the white immigrants, and teach them how to live on the land. Among the skills they taught were hunting, planting native corn, and burying fish to nurture the soil. By the end of the first year the small colony had survived, and decided to give a feast of thanksgiving. They invited their native hosts. We continue that tradition today, with gathering of family and friends around the table.

More US History - from PASADENA

Well, I just wanted to give you a little bit of history of Texas, and what we will be celebrating tomorrow.

Texas was once part of New Spain when the new world was being settled. Spain lost much of its land when it went to war with the United States. Aspart of the treaty, Spain was to give up the majority of the land that it owned, including New Mexico, Arizona and California. That was when the US stretched its borders to the west coast, to the Pacific Ocean. Any how, Texas was part of Mexico-Coahuila. It stretched up to Kansas. But Mexico couldn't hold on to much of the land, so they allowed eastern settlers to come in and settle the land, for a price. Stephen F. Austin was one of the settlers bringing 300 families to the new land. But there were some things they would have to agree to in order to be part of this new settlement ... the settlers had to become Catholic, settle where they were told, and follow Mexico's laws. ... Well, there was a lot of unrest in Mexico. It couldn't manage all the new settlers and so they started taxing them. The people wouldn't allow that, not to mention that Mexico was already in a civil war within itself. Well, needless to say, we won our independence at the Battle of San Jacinto. ... Texas became its own country for about 9 years before being annexed into the United States.

Incredible, isn't it? Well, tomorrow we will be celebrating something that was and still is part of our Hispanic culture ... Cinco de Mayo (May 5th). This is the day that Mexico won its independence from Spain and became its own country. We have dances and singing and eating like nothing else. It's a big celebration and all of us benefit from it. Tomorrow the students are performing for their parents and teachers the traditional dances that have been passed down through the ages. Its lovely. I'll take pictures and send you some so you can see what we look like and how we are dressed. Trust me, it is very colourful.

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