On the first day on January,
They opened Ellis Island and they let
The people through.
And the first to cross the threshold
Of that isle of hope and tears,
Was Annie Moore from Ireland
Who was all of fifteen years.
Isle of hope, isle of tears,
Isle of freedom, isle of fears,
But it's not the isle you left behind.
That isle of hunger, isle of pain,
Isle you'll never see again
But the isle of home is always on your mind.
In a little bag she carried
All her past and history,
And her dreams for the future
In the land of liberty.
And courage is the passport
When your old world disappears
But there's no future in the past
When you're fifteen years
When they closed down Ellis Island
In nineteen forty-three,
Seventeen million people
Had come there for sanctuary.
And in springtime when I came here
And I stepped onto it's piers,
I thought of how it must have been
When you're fifteen years.