Yesterday I was able to experience something that was awe inspiring and beautiful. My good friend and fellow author, Cecilia Weer became a US Citizen! I was able to attend her 'swearing in/oath' ceremony at the Federal Courthouse. There were over 40 people taking the oath, even an entire family! They were from 22 different countries. It was a very large courtroom and there was not an empty seat to be found. It was standing room only.
I stood with dozens of complete strangers and said the pledge of allegiance. They said it with pride, loudly, heartily. It was the first time I ever cried while saying that pledge. I shed many tears, all of them joyful.
I was moved by the judge. "Some of you came here fleeing political or religious persecution, hunger and oppression. Some of you came because you were seeking something moving toward something. You are now a part of that American dream that has brought countless people to our shores." Afterward, in the hallway outside the courtroom, these new citizens were SMILING, ear to ear, grinning, laughing, and clinging to their citizenship documents. I took pictures for complete strangers who, while their English was not perfect, they were using it as best they could. The sense of pride, excitement, happiness was palpable. You could FEEL it in the air.
Congratulations to all those individuals who took their oath yesterday. I am proud to be an American. I am very proud to welcome you to this great and wonderful country.