Last night, I was watching my favorite TV shows, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. I won’t go through the plot of Los Angeles, but basically they had a person of interest who was wanting to become an American citizen. The young man was from Afghanistan, a budding entrepreneur, and working to make enough money to bring his mother and sisters to America. In the final scene he was sworn in as a citizen in a special ceremony for his work with the Agents in thwarting a terrorist attack. The young man did not need to repeat the oath as he knew it by heart: he had memorized it so when he was given the opportunity he knew it down pat.
Those of us born in America don’t really understand what this means to others who come to this country and request to become citizens. I am a grand child of an immigrant. My Grandfather came to this country as a child with his parents from Italy. I find this an amazing feat as a World War was going on at that time, but they made it. They assimilated into the country, learning English and adopting the ways of the folk they lived around. Seeing the episode last night made me think of why a family would give up the world they know and understand to come to far away land, start over, and learn to live free.
The saying on the base of the Statue of Liberty has one section that says for those who yearn to be free. Immigrants who come to America mostly just yearn to be free. They want the things we take for granted: the ability to earn a good living, the ability to live where and with who they want, and the ability to get a good education. Humans Yearn to Be Free. I for one will continue to fight to keep America free so those who also crave freedom have a place to come. Welcome to you!