Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating America

I dressed the toddlers and the baby in red, white and blue. We ate hamburgers and hotdogs. We watched the fireworks. But the best part of this week was watching something I had never seen before: people becoming American citizens.

A good friend of Joel and mine from high school married a woman from Russia. He posted on Facebook that she was going to take the oath of American Citizenship, and he invited anyone who was interested to come.

Sounded like the perfect social studies field trip to me.

I loaded everyone who wasn't throwing up (left one at home) into the truck. We stopped at Brueggers just in case this turned out to be like law school graduation: really, really long. We used the bathroom, got a drink of water, had a bottle ready. Good to go for.....probably an hour.

There were 90 countries represented. All the countries were read while the people from each country stood up. We sang the Star Spangled Banner. We said the Pledge of Allegiance. The new citizens repeated the oath of citizenship. The judge welcomed and congratulated them on their long journeys. I kept thinking, "And NOW they will read (and butcher) the names of each of the 770 people." But they didn't.

Next, there was a slide show set to the song, "Proud to be an American." "Oh great," I thought. "Now we'll see slide after slide of white children on merry go rounds." But we didn't. Instead, there were pictures of very few white people. "Proud to be an American" went with a slide of a man wearing a turban. It went with a slide of a little, tiny, very old Asian woman who was crying and waving her American flag. "I won't forget the men who died" went with slides of white caskets being rolled out of airplanes flanked by military personnel.

Our friend's mom stood in front of me. She is single. She was married to an American citizen. He went to Vietnam and never came home.

The whole ceremony lasted for 34 minutes. The toddlers weren't to the end of themselves. I wasn't even close to the end of myself. Our friend's wife finally has her citizenship and, after 11 years, has her last name spelled correctly.

1 comment:

  1. Publish this. Just a little editing to be done around the "who wasn't throwing-up" part, so a more general audience will know that you don't live behind a bar.