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I was reminded how great our country is when my wife and I attended a naturalization ceremony last Friday, November 13th, at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. We were there to witness the naturalization of a friend who became an American citizen.

U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers presided over the transformation process from immigrant to U. S. Citizen for seventy-two eager individuals.

After the initial presentation of the flag with the accompanying national anthem, two fifth-grade students, Ryan Seaton and Olivia Mead, from Liza Jackson Preparatory School presented their winning essays on the topic “Why I’m glad America is a nation of immigrants.”

Wow, I am impressed at the depth of understanding these two children exhibited for our country and the importance for us to allow others to experience what we have.

Judge Rodgers led us through the naturalization process like one would weave fine linen to clothe a newborn infant for presentation to the world. She conducted a well-orchestrated program which included the presentation of the candidates, their swearing in, and them receiving their declaration of citizenship.

Each new citizen demonstrated their understanding of and their ability for speaking English by introducing them self and telling us their country of origin.

Afterward, Judge Rodgers asked the audience to join in as the entire fifth grade class led the new citizens through the honor of reciting their first “Pledge of Allegiance” and then the singing of “The National Anthem” as full fledge Americans.

The keynote speaker, Captain Keith Hoskins, commanding officer of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, eloquently reminded us of some of our rights; The protection of our faith, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom of speech. He stressed to us the importance of revering our veterans noting that six of the new citizens are already serving in our armed services and reminded us that many have made the ultimate sacrifice to maintain the freedoms we enjoy. Then he encouraged the new citizens to get involved, to participate in our government, to be of service to our country, and to be of service to others.

Captain Hoskins dissected the pledge the new citizens had just recited and highlighted the meaning of this sacred vow and then reminded us to count it a tremendous privilege to sing Francis Scott Key’s immortal words of our national anthem with an emphasis on the final verse, “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

For the finale, Dr. Leo Day, a former the minister of music at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola placed the icing on the cake when he completed the service singing “America the Beautiful” in English as well as four other languages representing some of the countries of origin of the new citizens.

As the service closed, Judge Rodgers reminded the new citizens that there was someone there to register them to vote.

This was a wonderful opportunity for my wife and I to privately renew our commitment to our nation while watching these new citizens representing dozens of countries dedicate themselves to the service of their new country.

This is what we are about!

GOD BLESS THE USA!

Wayne Brady 11/17/2015

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2 thoughts on “I Love my Country

  1. After countless trips to Atlanta, for 13 long years, to file paperwork over and over again, plus pay a bucket load of fees, my daughter-n-law finally became an American citizen in a ceremony with George Bush’s picture hanging on the wall of the Department of Homeland Security in Atlanta. She held her flag high and swore allegiance to America, along with about 75 other people that day. I snapped pictures and we cried. I know the feeling, Wayne Thank you for sharing and bringing back the incredible thankfulness and pride in country that we all experienced that day

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