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thedrifter
07-07-05, 08:22 PM
Proud to be an American: Saline County resident loves red, white, blue and her country
By Jillian McGehee
Courier Staff

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Marcelina Beaty Davis proudly shows off the American flag that was painted on the garage door at her house by her children. It's hard to miss the flag, as well as other symbols of American freedom that adorn her house, which is located off U.S. 67 near Haskell. (Courier photo by Jillian McGehee)

One look at Marcelina Beaty Davis, or peek into her house, and it becomes strikingly obvious that she is proud to be an American.

Nicknamed "Miss America" at Brown's Country Store and Restaurant, where she bakes pastries for a living, the native of Mexico dons at least one red, white and blue item of clothing or accessory at all times. Her love of everything American is evident in her home, too.

An American flag is painted on the garage at her house off U.S. 67 near Haskell; a flagpole stands tall with an American flag hanging from it in front of her house; and her home is filled with symbols of freedom such as flags, pictures, eagles and the Statue of Liberty.

She said she keeps her American ornaments out "year-round, and not just on the Fourth of July. I love red, white and blue."

"I was ready to show my pride" before 9/11, she said. "You don't have to have a tragedy to show the flag."

Becoming a U.S. citizen in 1985 was a dream come true for Davis. "I always wanted to come to America," she said.

Noting that some Americans take being American for granted, she said: "People who are born here don't know what it is like to come and strive for what you want," she said.

Originally from Durango, Mexico, she came to Arkansas in 1965, barely speaking English, with her first husband, John Beaty. They met in Mexico while he was on duty as a Marine. She said he proposed to her using a dictionary, and that she thanks him for not learning her native language so that she would learn English.

Her dream was to come to America, but Marcelina said she is "thankful she was born in Mexico so that she could appreciate what she how now ... I would not change one thing about my life." Challenges in life are merely "stepping stones" to learn from. "It's the only way to live."

On a long wall leading to her family room, a picture of her first husband in uniform along with certificates and awards hangs next to a picture of their son, Douglas Beaty, a corporal in the Marines who is on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Her second husband, Bob Davis, - with whom she now shares the home that she has lived in since coming to Arkansas 40 years ago - also is honored on the wall for his service in the Air Force.

Aside from recognition of servicemen close to her, Marcelina Davis has mementos to remind her of how proud she was when she became a citizen. A compilation of memorabilia, which she calls her "pride and joy," is displayed in a shadow box on the wall. Next to the box are old Arkansas license plates with the state's old motto, "Land of Opportunity," on them.

"I'm grateful to live hear and raise my kids and grandkids and to have the opportunity to be in America, where you can do what you want and say what you want."

In light of the nation's independence holiday , Marcelina said "from the bottom of my heart, I am appreciative of men and women who join the service and because of their sacrifice, they give me freedom and happiness."

"If they haven't made anyone else proud, they've made me proud." More closely to home, she said she is "thankful she raised someone who wants to be in the serve the country. I've at least done one thing for my country."

The Davises have a cookout and gather with family to celebrate the Fourth. In addition to her son, Marcelina has a daughter, Maria Banks, who lives in Haskell, with three children, 3, 7 and 14. A flag received when her first husband died in 1996 is put up on the morning of the holiday and taken down at night. "She only flies on special holidays," Marcelina Davis said.

Ellie

Ed Palmer
07-12-05, 09:36 AM
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