If you have never attended a naturalization ceremony, I would highly encourage you to do so at least once in your lifetime.
I attended my first ceremony this past Monday, September 11 and it was an exciting experience in many ways. (See http://frontpage.thewindhameagle.com/2017/09/american-legion-auxiliary-hosts.html for details of that special morning.) The new citizens’ enthusiasm filled the air and was catching. In fact, I think I was more excited for those 37 individuals from 22 different countries who became American citizens than they were for themselves – and they were pretty happy.
As I witnessed people take their first oath of allegiance to the United States, I realized my excitement was more of a feeling of luck. While some scoff at words like luck, fate and destiny, believing you make your own life what it is, I have to say that if you are born in the U.S., luck was on your side.
I don’t deny that luck doesn’t play much of a role in how we conduct our lives or how we create our own happiness, those are choices - but there are so many freedoms that come with being an American which are not always available in other countries that one can’t help to recognize the fate bestowed on us.
Besides the usual freedoms of religion, speech, etc. we have other assumed freedoms we tend to take for granted.
For example, we have the freedom to marry whomever we want, attend a college of our choice (or not attend college at all), dress however we want, listen to any music we choose, travel anywhere in the world and the freedom to make our dreams come true.
But perhaps most importantly, is that despite the fact we can be divisive when we voice our opinions (another freedom) we come together when it’s important. Just look at how we gathered as a nation 16 years ago on September 11, 2001. How lucky are we to have been born among men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice on that day for their fellow Americans?
As a result of attending the Naturalization Ceremony, my respect grew for the new U.S. citizens from across the globe who have worked so hard and obviously desired freedoms that I have always taken for granted.
If you’ve never been to a ceremony, please consider it. You’ll walk away more American than when you walked in.