The small town of Richmond, Maine, offers a key to understanding why we need be concerned, not only about building a mosque at Ground Zero in New York City, but anywhere.
Richmond's history goes back to the mid-1600s. During World War II, it became the epicenter of the largest Russian-speaking settlement in the U.S. with people emigrating from the Ukraine, Russia and Poland.
Among Richmond's residents in the late 1950s were my mother's Russian aunt and uncle. As a child, I visited them there, experiencing the culture of that very large ethnic community. Russian influence was obvious everywhere. My visits to Richmond ended in 1975 after my great-uncle died and my great-aunt came to live with us.
Thirty years later, I visited Richmond again—but was shocked to see the change occurring after only a generation and a half. Little Russian influence remained.
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