Saturday, October 1, 2011

Becoming An American

September 27, 2011 was a special day and I want to tell you about it.  It probably isn't connected to metalsmithing but it did affect me and in that way, it was connected.

Today my Swedish son-in-law became an American citizen. He did not just arrive in this country but has been here for 34 years, raised a family, and worked in international sales.  Until just a few years ago, Sweden would not allow dual citizenship and Anders traveled extensively in Europe on his Swedish passport. He began the journey to US citizenship as soon as possible when dual citizenship was an option. Each exit from the US and entry into the US that he had made in the past 34 years required accurate documentation. This documentation process was a daunting undertaking but he kept at it and finally, this year everything was in order.

A Fraction of the 1,232 Candidates For US Citizenship
We arrived at the Paramount Theater where 1,232 about-to-be new United States citizens waited in line to be seated. This was an intricately organized gathering and was critical to the efficiency of everything that followed. The candidates for citizenship were guided into predetermined sections and seated together by country of origin to facilitate the certificate distribution. In the picture above, Anders is in the upper left hand corner, three in from the door, standing between a red jacket and a blue shirt. His big smile makes him easy to identify.
The Wall of the Paramount Theater
Some of you know by now that I like to take pictures of beautiful designs.  So, it makes sense that I would take a picture of this gorgeous ceiling at the Paramount and the wall in the picture above. The colors are true and the designs are mesmerizing. We were not bored while waiting for the ceremony to begin.

The Wall and Ceiling of the Paramount Theater
The interior of the Paramount Theater creates a grand atmosphere for this ceremony and communicates the importance of this moment. The government officials spoke warmly and respectfully to the new citizens. The man who introduced the procedures spoke fluently in the languages of seven countries as he welcomed the candidates. (Swedish was not one of them.) He also had a dry sense of humor with which he peppered his comments. At the end, 1,232 candidates from 104 countries received their certificates of citizenship in a timely, orderly fashion. Over half of them ordered passports in the lobby. All of this finished in a little over an hour renewing my faith, ever so slightly, in government efficiency.

I almost stayed home and worked on some bracelets today but I'm so glad I didn't! I was reminded of my days managing Vocational English As A Second Language Programs in business. The people I interacted with in those classes believed in the promise of America. Many had left everything to come to a better place and participate in the American Dream. Their love for the United States should remind us to stand up for the country we believe in and to vote, vote, vote. These new citizens bring fresh enthusiasm and dedication with them. Let's welcome them.

Thank you, Anders and 1,231 others. We need you here.

New American--One of the Best


  1. Welcome home Anders,

    You are the best of what America offers. Bring us the light of Sweden. Luci S

  2. Marcia,

    What a beautiful blog you post! You have so many talents and an eye for detail which belies many.
    You are an artist and I felt as if I wanted to jump into the blog and enjoy it all with you. Thank-you for sharing a part of life that is deeply beautiful and yes, personal.


  3. Thank you, Luci. It was a beautiful ceremony and I appreciate your comments more than you know! I didn't expect it to be as moving as it was and I'm happy you enjoyed reading about it. Thank you again!