I had a proud moment today – I had the pleasure and honor of watching my daughter-in-law, Sanaz take her oath has a United States citizen. She passed her test, had her interview and called us immediately to let us know she was going to take the oath this afternoon. Even if I had not already had the day off, I would have dropped everything to be there for this momentous occasion.
It was a large, splashy ceremony like what you see on TV. There weren’t any reporters, TV cameras or large crowds cheering for this small group of determined and special people. There were about 20 individuals who had decided to make a commitment to this country. Some had family and friends present, others were alone – all had chosen to become part of this great nation. There were people from Syria, Somalia, Mexico, Great Britain, Canada, Togo – and Sanaz was the only one from Iran.
As we stood to listen to the National Anthem, I realized what a great sacrifice these individuals had made to become a citizen – they are giving up the life they had for a new life. For some this means not being able to go back to their own country because of the political strife within the country, some will not see the people they grew up with for many years – if ever, and yet all of them stood tall with their hands over their hearts as the National Anthem was played. The smiles started to cover their faces as they recited the oath and their chests swelled with pride as they recited the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time as United States citizens.
The family and friends who had attend the ceremony took lots of pictures – just like a high school or college graduation. There were lots of tears of joy, smiles and hugs exchanged – and congratulations in many different languages.
It was a wonderful day for our new citizens – and a wondrous moment to witness.