In a reminder of just how regal he can be, Sen. Marco Rubio took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to honor Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernandez, who died Sunday in a tragic boating accident.
Calling the Cuban-born All Star player the “pride of Miami,” Rubio shared Fernandez’s remarkable life story, beginning with his escape from communist Cuba after three failed attempts — the third failure led to Fernandez being thrown in a Fidel Castro prison at the young age of 14. Just a boy.
With fabulously wealth professional athletes today openly disrespecting the United States, ignoring the amazing opportunity the rest of the world yearns for to instead paint America as the land of oppression, Rubio’s floor speech added a little perspective.
“One of José’s proudest accomplishments, in fact he said one of his proudest was not on the diamond, and we know this because he told us,” the Republican senator from Florida said. “Last year, José became an American citizen, and afterwards he said, ‘This one is my most important accomplishment. I am an American citizen now. I am one of them. I consider myself now to be free. I thank this amazing country the opportunity to go to school here and learn the language and pitch in the major leagues. It is an honor to be apart of this country, and I respect it so much.’”
Rubio explained how Fernandez, at the young age of 24, came to represent so much more than himself… and how the “American Dream” is alive and well, despite the misgivings of a few malcontents.
“Jose represented not just all of us who were fortunate to live our own American Dream, he represents countless others who never made it – the ones who lie in unmarked graves along the Florida Straits, who died in political prisons in Cuba, who sent their children to America hoping to join them later only never to see them again, who long ago gave up hope that life in Cuba could ever return to what it was. But have found new hope and joy and gratitude in this: the greatest country the world has ever known.”
“We loved him just a little more and took more pride in him than most, but Jose didn’t just belong to Cuban-Americans,” Rubio continued.
“A young man from Santa Clara, Cuba, playing America’s pastime in a truly unique American city on a team with players from Taiwan and Venezuela and Japan and the Dominican Republic, and Mobile, Alabama, and Panorama, California. Jose Fernandez was the pride of Miami, but he belonged to every fan who loved to watch him pitch. When Miami saw Jose on the mound, they saw more than just a great athlete. They saw their hopes and dreams and aspirations, all we are and all we could be. And we said to ourselves, “This is what the American Dream looks like. And, boy, is the American Dream alive and well.”
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