A year ago I'd written about Richard See and Paul Gold, who dominated downtown real estate for decades and whose exploits included acquiring and assembling the block where the Georgia-Pacific Building (now the Standard Insurance Center) became downtown's first modern tower. Messrs. See and Gold were both immigrants, Richard See from Germany and Paul Gold from Russian Poland. In 2011 I'd written about the three remarkable sons of Italian immigrant Carlo Piacentini, who landed on August 16, 1913. Carlo's sons - John, Frank, and Carl - all became prominent in our city.
Last week I discovered an interesting coincidence. On March 4, 1931 Paul Gold and Carlo Piacentini stood together in a Portland courtroom to be sworn in as citizens of the United States. Messrs. Gold and Piacentini, as aliens, had served in the United States army, and qualified for expedited citizenship, and March 4 was the last day on which alien veterans could be naturalized without waiting out the arduous process prescribed for other would-be citizens.
I thought the story of Paul Gold and Carlo Piacentini especially poignant when I read of Hameed Darweesh, the Iraqi man who had served as a translator for the United States army, and who had acquired the proper permits to enter the United States because of his service, who was stopped and detained by the Customs and Border Patrol last week solely because of President Trump's sudden change of policy.
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, if this is the way the new leaders of our government choose treat the foreigners on whom our troops depend to communicate, we don't deserve to have any.