Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Introducing ...

The newest United States Citizen! My sister-in-law Mary became a citizen today. She is Irish, and has lived here for ... 25-26 (?) years and been married to my brother almost that long. Guess after all that time she decided it would stick.

The boys & I went to the ceremony, held in the US District Court Building in downtown St. Paul. The room was beautiful - it had draped white netting and lights, like for a wedding reception!

There were about 230 citizens-to-be in this ceremony, from either 37 or 47 different countries (I heard 47, Ben heard 37.) Mary was the only one from Ireland. Somali had the most, with 68, Vietnam and Mexico each had about 17 or 18, Liberia had maybe 14, and then all the rest of the nations had 10 or fewer. No Norwegians, Croatians, or Tanzanians!
Here all the candidates are swearing allegiance to the United States. The judge presiding spoke for a bit both before and after the swearing in. I really liked the message he gave, talking about how the United States is dependent on the diversity of many people from many cultures and that although they are swearing allegiance to the US, they should never, ever forget their homelands and all that they grew up with culturally, linguistically, and musically.

He ended with a John Wesley quote that is one of my favorites:

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
For all the people you can,
For as long as you can.

Then they had a video presentation set to the song Proud to be An American, with photos of the nation, its citizens, and its new citizens. It was incredibly moving; I stood in the back and cried.

I wanted to hug and congratulate and welcome each of the new citizens. I was, truly, proud to be an American.

1 comment:

Mama Ava said...

Hear Hear! With so much negative press about America, it's good to have a dose of what is really great about our country and be proud of what's best about it. Having lived now overseas, I've appreciated being able to see (and hear about) America from other perspectives, but I am very proud to be an American.

(that song, btw, is soooo lame, but it always gets me when I hear it!)

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