September 6, 2019, was a magnificent day for many reasons. For starters, it is was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, a reminder of our quickly ending summer. Secondly, on that day 200 people from 37 different countries became United States citizens right here in Sioux Falls.
Just what does it mean to be a citizen of the United States? It says on my passport that I am a citizen of the United States, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I know that my ancestors loved other countries: Germany, Norway, Prussia, and England. However, although these places are intriguing for me, I have pride and love for only one country, the United States of America.
The same goes for our new citizens. They have pride and love for this new country. To come to this country, they left behind everything they knew and loved in hopes to start a new life, a better life, a safer life, and to be part of the American dream. As the keynote speaker fittingly said, it is with utmost dedication and determination that people are willing to leave their homeland, their “most sacred,” to come to America.
So as I watched 200 new citizens swear the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, I found it very fitting that the opening speaker had mentioned the stamina and determination of their own ancestors and had admonished, “I really hope you never lose that internal resolve that brought you here to the United States.”
A New American citizen folds the flag to the National Anthem
Then later as the mayor spoke, I had to agree with him that our community is full of diversity and that our “new citizens have a voice and responsibility to participate,” and to be “a part of this city, this community,” through voting, mentoring, and volunteering.
Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103