Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Mohammed: A Citizen
The last three weeks have been full, especially with travel. My husband and I visited my family in Wisconsin, spent a few days seeing friends in Chicago and then made a long awaited trip to Louisville, Kentucky for his citizenship ceremony.
I documented the event with my new cameras, a Pentax digital SLR (love it!) and a Canon Videocamera (don't really know how to use it yet...). I made the following video for him as a gift. It's my first attempt at using Windows Movie Maker's editing tools. Aaaargh! It took three days to get it down to this. If you watch it, you will see that I have a lot to learn! It's also a bit corny... But, it's a gift for a sweet, corny kind of guy!
Mohammed came down to Louisville from Chicago with two friends, Don and Betty, who are 89 and 85. I met them, driving from Paducah. The day was marred by a horrible accident. A car ran a red light and a pickup, attempting to avoid that car, lost control and ended up upside down on the back of Don's car. We were told that we had just left the car, so we were grateful that nobody was hurt.
The ceremony itself was very interesting and multicultural. After speeches of various pundits and notorious leaders, we all processed to an international festival, a few blocks away. It was obvious that this was a moment of great joy and accomplishment for all of the new citizens who joined in this melting pot that is the United States. Legal citizenship means years of paperwork, fingerprinting, documenting, and quite a bit of money.
Now we can put the process behind us and go about the business of making a life here. As any immigrant knows, life in these United States is not a path paved in gold, but rather one shaped by struggle. Yet, as these same immigrants know, we still have freedoms and opportunities here that have been lost in many places around the world. I welcome Mohammed to this country and will enjoy watching him develop his identity as an American. Being an American is like a double-edged sword: we are loved and hated, respected and feared, emulated and despised. Learning how to balance these perceptions reminds us that all nations are made up of people, individuals who may or may not endorse their leaders.