July 17, 2015
July 17, 2015
The ceremony was far more impressive than the simple one Boboy participated in 20 years earlier. Each individual stood when their country was read from the long list of names of the countries that they represented. There was moving speech with the new citizens waving their flags and cheering, a video message from President Obama, and music from our national anthem to Lee Greenwood's, Proud to Be An American. Every participant was registered to vote.
It was hard to realize that the individuals leading the ceremony were not professional actors, but were USCIS officials. They rocked!
The best part of the event was the pride and joy that overflowed from the room. Boboy's mom told us how she got every question on the citizenship test correct. That's not an easy feat. I give that test to my students every year as an introduction to a unit on immigration. Most score horribly. Not Clarita - she rattled off the questions and answers. She told us how the official smiled as she sang The Star Spangled Banner to him.
Family and friends took photos of the ceremony and event. Some who were unaccompanied handed me their cell phones to take their photos. All were the same –broad smiles and tears of joy as they held up the American flag.
For too much of the time I am am angry at my country. Angry that the elected officials do not understand how student loans are burying our young people under mountains of debt; how millions of us work many overtime hours and are not being paid for them; how politicians are destroying our public schools; how our broken immigration system is hurting families and our nation; and on and on. I cannot remember the last time I was actually proud to be an American. Today I was.