For years it has been recognized that this South Florida Community sometimes feels as if it is in another country. Truth be known, I worked there for many years and it actually felt different. This comment is not meant to be in any way demeaning or derogatory of the city and its citizens. Hialeah is actually a very prosperous place and its citizenry is recognized as hardworking productive members of this community.
I’m talking of the flavor of the place; the interaction amongst people when they are there; the restaurants, coffee shops, barber shops and other business establishments. You step into this other world that is very much Cuban; yet it is not Cuba, but neither is it American. Sometimes it can be thought of as a self-autonomous political entity with its own head of state.
During the aftermath of the Twin Towers attack, there was an outpouring of sympathy and solidarity expressed by other countries towards the United States. Not to be outdone, during a live TV interview of the citizenry regarding the event, one of its citizens proudly said, “We in Hialeah are in full support of the US and express our solidarity with the American People”.
OK, good I thought; but didn't this fellow just practically declared Hialeah’s secession from the Union?
As a result of the ensuing war, one of my co-workers (a reservist) was called up for duty. That Christmas we sent him a care package of Goodies. Along with the package went a letter entitled “Greetings from The Republic of Hialeah”, full of messages and just general good-wishes. Later when he came home he told me about how he had shared the goodies with his unit and how he had shared the letter.
“What…..are you crazy?” you shared a letter titled like that with a unit of American soldiers.
Relax… the entire unit was from South Florida and even the Americans got a chuckle out of it. They all understood they were fighting for the U.S. and for “The Republic of Hialeah”.
God Bless these United States of America, the soldiers who keep her free and the guys from South Florida for having such a good sense of humor.