What is it about your citizenship in your country that you appreciate, or even find precious? I’m sure there are many things. But how often do we take the time to think about that? Most of us have our citizenship because we were born in this country—it’s a birthright. So sometimes we may take our citizenship for granted—because it is.
June 14 is Flag Day, and of course July 4 is Independence Day. So in this time of year we should take some time to think about what our citizenship in our country means to us—the rights, the responsibilities, the blessings.
A great way to help you think about your citizenship in the United States is to hear from people who have made the choice to give up their citizenship in the country of their birth and become citizens of the U.S. It’s a long and challenging process–very important and profound for these people—to renounce their allegiance to the country of their birth and pledge allegiance to a different country.
The process of becoming a U.S. citizen is called naturalization. Our federal courts handle that process, and conduct the ceremony by which these people transfer their allegiance to the United States. If you haven’t ever seen a naturalization ceremony, you should do that sometime.
Here is a very well-done video of several naturalized citizens discussing what it meant to them to become U.S. citizens. It is titled The American Dream in Kansas: In Their Own Words. It was made for the federal district court of Kansas as a project to recognize the 150th year of the court. The first ten minutes of this video is devoted to what these naturalized citizens, originally from countries like South Korea, Russia, Sudan, India, Mexico, Pakistan, England, Ecuador, Switzerland and Canada have to say about their experience. It is moving, inspiring, poignant. It’s a great way to reflect on or generate discussion about what it means for any of us to be an American citizen.
Do yourself a big favor and watch the first ten minutes of this video. Use it as an opportunity for you to consider what your United States citizenship means to you.
If you can’t access the video through the text link above, copy this link and paste it into your browser: http://www.ksd.uscourts.gov/the-american-dream-in-kansas-in-their-own-words/.