Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America
An American Citizen
July 18,2012 a day of change. On this day I became an citizen of United Sates of America. As I sat at my ceremony at the Henry Ford Museum in Grand Rapids Michigan, many thoughts went through my mind. Thoughts of sadness and also thoughts of joy. To become an American citizen I had to say that I would give up all ties to my home country. This was something that I thought of throughout the whole process. Can I give up my own nationality ~ Being Canadian.
I moved to United States in the fall of 2000. My reasons at that time was to see if the health system was any different. To try something new. I had crossed the border with a work visa and as a Registered Nurse, I had no problem getting this. At that time I had no plans on becoming an American Citizen. For me there was no change. I still paid taxes. I had my freedom whether I lived in Canada or United States. The only difference was I could not vote.
As the years went by things changed. I decided that if I wanted to stay and live here I should become a permanent resident. In 2006, I had become a permanent resident and in 5 years I could apply for my citizenship. Fall of 2011, I started that process.
The road to becoming a citizen wasn’t that hard, but was expensive. Besides paying for the fees I had to make a total of three trips to an Immigration office. All these trips were at least 400 miles away from where I lived, so that meant the expense of driving, hotel rooms and food. I stressed out over the exam and drilled in my brain all the information I need to know about United States. Repeating question after question until I knew the answer, knowing that possibly many Americans would not be able to answer some of the questions. I had paid my money, I had passed the exam, now all I had to do was go to the ceremony.
I sat in the ceremony with a heavy heart, listening to the speakers. They were telling me that United States is made up of immigration. Even the ones that are born and bred as an American, somewhere in their heritage, someone had to come to this country as an immigrant. That everyone of us had a different reason for becoming an citizen, be it freedom, ability to return if you leave or the right to vote.
As I looked around the room and watched the ones that went ahead of me receive their citizenship, I saw many happy faces. There were many that you knew left countries that had no freedom, no jobs and no money. It was a day of new beginnings and a chance of a new life. I sat waiting for my name to be called, I thought of the reasons that I decided to become a citizen and I felt peace. I had made the right decision for myself and my family. Although I still feel Canadian, I am American and I am proud of it. July 18, 2012 I pledge allegiance to the flag of United States of America and on July 4th, 2013 I will celebrated Independence Day as an American for the very first time.
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