Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The oath of citizenship

A good friend raised his right hand and took an oath and became a naturalized US citizen. Brad was Australian by birth, and he was joined in that courtroom by 70 other people. They were from Russia, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, and Mexico, They came from Great Britain, Guatemala, China, and India. They'd been born in Japan, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, Chile, Venezuela, Eritrea, and South Korea. They'd migrated from Iran and Iraq. 

The world had come to that courtroom. They wanted to be Americans. They'd waited for it. They’d worked for it and they’d earned it.
Stuart Hart is another friend who can trace his lineage back to an ancestor who'd fought in the War of American Independence. He walked to the lectern, turned to the judge and asked permission to don his hat. He faced his fellow citizens and said:

“We are here representing the Sons of the American Revolution. We are here representing our ancestors. We're here because we want to be. We’re proud of our ancestral heritage because our ancestors migrated to this country just as you have."
"I’m an 80-year-old born citizen. And you are now citizens. New citizens. Naturalized citizens."

Stuart paused. He lowered his voice and leaned toward the people and appeared that he was trying to look each one of them in the eye.
"I want to tell you that there is NO difference in our citizenship. None whatsoever. Citizenship in this country is equal. The rights and responsibilities and the privileges and the freedoms are for ALL citizens. Equally." 
"You bring something special here today. You bring your diversity. You bring different ways of thinking about things, different ways of doing things. And this diversity that you bring, that has always been brought by immigrants to this country in the past, is one of the major, MAJOR factors that has made this country the great country that it is." 
"You’re here today to continue that strength by integrating into our society your differences, because it’s our differences that bond us together and make us strong.”

Many people were made strong in that courtroom on that day.

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