Two hundred thirty-six people. Thirty-nine countries. Diverse citizenships, diverse languages. All about to become new citizens of the United States. Our daughter’s sister-in-law was one of those in this very long line waiting outside the U.S. Immigration Services building in Miami on February 24.
After entering the building, those who would participate in the citizenship ceremony went one way, and the visitors were seated in the back of the fairly large room.
Music was playing in the background, including “Battle Hymn of the Republic” sung by Elvis Presley, and “Proud to be an American.” The soon-to-be citizens filed in and took their places in the chairs reserved for them. A supervisor for the U.S. Immigration Services welcomed everyone, and all stood for the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and then for the pledge of allegiance to the flag, led by a man from Venezuela.
The supervisor then asked anyone who had served in the U.S. military prior to that day to stand and be recognized. After watching a video showing photos of immigrants over the past 230 years, the supervisor asked that each person stand as the name of their original country was read. Enthusiastic clapping from the visitors followed the name of each country, with citizens from those 39 countries ranging from 1 to 18. Argentina (13), Columbia (15), Haiti (18), Cuba (17), Nicaragua (16), and Venezuela (18) had the highest numbers.
All becoming naturalized citizens that day then stood, raised their right hands, and took the oath of citizenship. The speaker noted that those folks had chosen to become U. S. citizens for various reasons: freedom to practice the faith of their choice; freedom to live freely; freedom to pursue their dreams, which with hard work, they would be able to fulfill. She urged them to be responsible citizens, to learn the issues and vote, to obey the laws, to respect others, to learn to compromise, to keep the areas where they reside safe. Another video, “God Bless the USA” was played, and as each person received his or her certificate of naturalization, “Proud to be an American” was played again. Each new citizen also received a voter registration form and a U.S. passport application.
There was joy and excitement on the faces of the new citizens and on those of the visitors who had come to share in this wonderful experience. Just outside the building was a replica of the Statue of Liberty, and many took photos next to it.
Shown left to right are our daughter’s mother-in-law, Marina; my 94-year old mother, Helen; Wendy (the new U.S. citizen), our granddaughter, Kayti, and me. I learned so much that day and appreciated the citizenship ceremony more than I can say. It all confirmed what I have always said about myself … if I weren’t already a citizen of the U.S., I would do everything possible to become one. Diverse we are, but united we should stand, living and caring in such a way that we respect all.
Speaking of diversity in another way, the members of the BBest team are very diversified in the mediums in which they choose to create wonderful handmade items. Below are just a few of those creations.
To view over 3000 items created by the Bbest team members, go to www.etsy.com, then next to Handmade, enter Bbest team, and search. You will be delighted at the variety of creations you find there.