Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An American Canuk

Today was a special day.

I didn't ever participate in a citizenship ceremony. I am a Canuk by default because my parents opted to become Canadians. I was a child at the time and I was in school when they attended their swearing in.

Today I recited the oath of citizenship in English and I mumbled my way through it in French. I repeated it along with 85 new Canadian citizens and a gallery of their friends and family. It was a worthwhile experience particularly for the children who participated with their parents.

It was 1:30 p.m. when the judge began his speech. It was excellent, interesting and gave everyone a lot to think about. He appeared friendly, amicable, intelligent and understanding. Why doesn't someone like that run for public office?

He talked about his family coming to Canada by ship from Greece in the 40's. He spoke of the responsibilities, the satisfaction and the challenges that go along with being a Canadian. He talked about cultural diversity and freedom. He stated that citizenship is not to be taken lightly. He suggested everyone see the country and learn French (clearly he heard all slurred noises during the recitation). He told us how fortunate Canadians are and gave examples of atrocities and the lack of rights in other countries. We found out that there are 250,000 people who apply for citizenship each year. Staggering! It takes two years to be processed.

I looked at the crowds. They were eager. Some were emotional. Family members were immortalizing the moments with their cameras. There was one familiar face in the crowd. It was the face of an American. It was the face of the person for whom and with whom I attended the ceremony. It was hubby.

The time came for the certificates to be presented. Eighty-five people from twenty-seven different countries marched up, shook the judge's hand and became citizens. Hubby walked past sporting a big grin. At the end of  the cermony, the judge invited all the children up to the front to help sing "Oh Canada". It was a memorable experience that made me even more proud to be a Canadian.


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