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Lodi’s most patriotic immigrant proud of his adopted country

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Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:07 am, Thu Jul 5, 2012.

In Lodi, the man who loves America most was born on a tiny island on the other side of the world.

Greek immigrant Socrates Papadimatos, 82, decorates his property on the corner of Highway 12 and DeVries Road each Independence Day.

It takes six days to set up the patriotic display to Papadimatos' liking. That means a dozen full-size American flags, as well as flag and flower decorations on every post and telephone pole stretching across his yard. Huge signs declaring "God Bless America" greet drivers on both roads.

"This is the money dream," he said, pulling out his favorite flag from a closet. It's huge, and the pole is topped with red silk roses.

Papadimatos said he loves America because it has given him many opportunities.

"When the country gives you opportunity, you have to take it," he said.

And Lodi loves Papadimatos right back.

He gets a positive response from the community every year.

"They blow their horns at me, they wave to me," he said. "They tell me I am something else."

When he's not decorating, he grows strawberries, figs and olives.

The boy from the Greek island of Cephalonia still gets emotional when telling his immigration story.

He was so desperate to become an American citizen that he tried to enlist in the Army in 1953 to fight in the Korean War, but the military wouldn't accept him.

"I thought that even if I died fighting for America, at least my name will be in history, it will be on the memorial board," Papadimatos said.

Eventually, he was able to become a citizen after marrying his wife Lenna, a Lodi native whose father was also born on Cephalonia.

"He's an adopted citizen, but he loves this country like nobody's business," said his wife of 57 years.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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  • Kim Parigoris posted at 1:00 pm on Thu, Jul 5, 2012.

    Kim Parigoris Posts: 469

    I guess we can't just enjoy a nice story- thank you Mr.Papadimatos for being such a patriot! My father in law was also a Greek immigrant, my father an Irish immigrant, and both passionately loved this country!

  • Robert Jacobs posted at 12:26 pm on Thu, Jul 5, 2012.

    Robert Jacobs Posts: 298

    I guess this guy doesn't realize that this United States government can (and already have) deem anyone in this country immigrant or not (of course we are all immigrants, with the exception of full blood Indians) terrorists kick the door to their house (anywhere really) handcuff that person, take them anywhere they choose, torture them, and even kill them and all without a judges signature! This is called the Patriot Act, conceived by former torturer and U.S. law breaker George Bush Jr..

    Great country we have here hug guys.... I feel so warm a fuzzy all over....



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