A new citizen

12/18/2013

 
Today I was excited to see one of my Nepali-Bhutanese  "children" get her American citizenship after fleeing a Nepal refugee camp and coming to America for a better life.  The ceremony was held at the M.O. Campbell auditorium on Aldine Bender.  There were 1508 candidates from 112 nations there to receive their certificate of citizenship. I thought about my country and how my grandfather came from Scotland and settled here in the late 1800s. (Probably most people in the room could say their parents or grandparents were from other countries).  

I thought about my "daughter" and her personal journey.  She came here with her brother both in their 20s with no parents.  She worked assembly at some horrible jobs, and walked or rode her bicycle to work.  She was freezing the first winter because she did not know how to set the thermostat at her apartment.  One afternoon while sitting on her balcony she saw a Burmese refugee shot in front of her and she had no phone to call for help if she needed to.  All of the refugees then had to move to other apartments because of the violence. She enrolled in college and now has a nice car and a much nicer job.

America has been blessed to be a blessing to so many hurting people fleeing oppression or just wanting a chance for a better life. May God continue to bless us because we hold out freedom (though some is slipping away) and most of all hope to so many people. 

The ceremony was well organized and short because I am sure there were so many people to receive certificates of citizenship.   In 1996 I witnessed a similar ceremony in my Immigration building.  There were only about 50 people then but each one was clutching an American flag.

Today a few people had a small flag but it was in their pocket.  We said the pledge of allegiance to the flag but nothing was mentioned about putting your right hand over your  heart.  (Perhaps they were told, but forgot). Then we had a small choir sing the Star Spangled Banner and a few had their hands over their hearts.  To coin a phrase from television:  "Back in my day" I think I would have been scolded for not having my hand over my heart.  

Immediately all of the new citizens were given voter registration forms and volunteers waited to gather them up after they were filled in.  

God truly has brought the nations to our doorstep. What will we do to help them assimilate to their new culture?
 


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