Today I attended a Naturalization Ceremony at the courthouse in West Chester. Twenty-one people from 14 different countries became United States citizens. I was there with the Chester County Chorale Society, and we sang the national anthem plus a medley of three patriotic songs: “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, “God Bless America,” and “O Beautiful for Spacious Skies.”
Several chorale members had told me what a great experience it was to be a part of this ceremony, and they were right. It was humbling, because we take so much for granted. We are so quick to complain about our country. And right now, everything seems political–we’re so divided as a country, and we have no leadership.
Seeing these 21 people today stand up and swear an oath to the United States was a moving experience.
They came up, one by one, to shake hands and receive a certificate of citizenship. All of them were smiling, and proud families were taking pictures. One woman spoke about how she first came to the country as a student at Virginia Tech, back before she could speak English very well. She graduated with honors, went to graduate school in New York, worked as an architect for many years, married and started a family, and now teaches high school. Why would we, as Americans, not want this woman in our country? Look how much value she has added to her community.
I don’t want to get political on this blog, I really don’t. However, maybe it’s time for people like me (and you!) to get political. How are we going to heal the rift in our nation? I believe the only way to accomplish this is to find common ground. We’re all Americans. Regardless of red state, blue state, gun control laws, immigration stance, health care or no health care–we’re all Americans.
If more Americans could witness what I saw today, maybe we could all calm down and take a deep breath. Remember what is good about our country. Agree on that. Remind ourselves that we are all one, we’re all in this together, and we have to take care of each other.
God bless America.