In Atlanta, Georgia, on June 30.2009 at 2:15 p.m., 113 men and women, from fifty countries and every continent of the globe, anxiously filed in to a small auditorium at the Park Lake, Homeland Security Office. Each of them spent years to earn the right to find their assigned seat in this auditorium on this date. Many of them had undergone great hardship to arrive, and all had undergone testing and examinations to qualify to attend. All of them were neatly dressed, many in clothing that represented their country of origin.
Shortly after each had taken their seat, their family and friends filled the remaining rows in the back of the auditorium, many of whom were carrying cameras and video recorders, so as to be able to capture what was about to happen.
At exactly 2:30 p.m., the director of the Atlanta, Homeland Security Office, took the stage. He warmly greeted all in attendance and recognized what the 113 men and women had endured to earn their right assigned seat.
At 2:40 p.m. he asked the 113 men and women to rise and to raise their right hand. In unison, all 113 proudly took the United States Citizenship Oath, renouncing all previous affiliations to countries, principalities and potentates. They all swore to defend the constitution and to bear arms, if called upon by the United States of America, or to perform non combat or civil services if needed. Camera flashes, comparable to a Presidential news conference, were blinking across the auditorium, as friends and family scrambled for the best possible angle for their shots.
Many of the 113 men and women had tears of joy flowing down their cheeks, while others had an overwhelming expression of pride. As soon as all 113 men and women had finished the oath, thunderous applause overtook the auditorium, and all were seated once again. The auditorium lights dimmed and a large movie screen descended from the ceiling of the stage. Upon it pictures of immigrants to the U.S.A. began to show, as a powerful rendition of Lee Greenwood’s, “God Bless The USA” began to play.
Photos of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, along with other American Landmarks continued to show until the end of the song. The song had never meant more to those in attendance, then it did at that moment in time, and soft sounds of joyful sobbing could be heard here and there.
At the end of the song, a message from President Barack Obama began to play. He welcomed the new U.S. Citizens and rejoiced their value to the diverse culture of the U.S.A. He outlined not only the rights that the new U.S. Citizens would now have, but also encouraged all to take pride in their civic duties.
When the presentation ended the lights came back on. The director entered the stage again and asked two of the 113 to stand and walk up to the stage. It was a young lady, Air Force Cadet and a young Marine. Both had earned citizenship by signing up to serve in the U.S. armed forces, and both of them wore their dress uniform. He then announced that these two, new U.S. citizens, would lead the group in the pledge of allegiance.
Everyone in the room rose, facing the United States flag, and proudly placed their hand upon their heart, and all loudly and proudly spoke the pledge, which included “One Nation under GOD,” and not one of them skipped this part of the allegiance, which again was followed by thunderous applause. Shortly there after the new citizens filed past the stage to receive their citizenship certificates.
While you probably do not know 112 of these men and women, you now know one of them. For in assigned seat number 100 was I. Mrs. Caroline Everitt, one of Americas Proud New Citizens.
It will be a very special fourth of July for me this year, as will honor the founding of MY country, the United States of America. Please appreciate your U.S. Citizenship and don’t ever take it for granted. For there are many of us that had to wait years and work hard to earn it. God Bless America. God Bless us all.
“Most people just want to live the American Dream. More people just dream of living like an American.”