A beautiful thing happened today. We were invited to come to the Citizenship Ceremony of a family member. What a fantastic way to be supportive to a loved one and get some civics in today! This is what I love about homeschooling. Without a thought I packed up the kids and away we went on a field trip.
The location was the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. My photos of the venue itself did not turn out, but trust me, it is a treasure. The ornate, art deco styled, historical building stood proudly whilst we waited for the ceremony to begin.
We busied ourselves by getting familiar with the ceremony agenda..
It began promptly, and we soon were singing along to patriotic melodies with TOSCA. Some of these songs I don’t think I’ve heard since I was a child. My heart was uplifted, and excitement was in the air.
Then my kids were introduced to the concept of Social Security, and registering to vote. Even the concept that you have to go get a passport was a new idea for them. They have had one since birth, so they don’t recall that process.
There was a lovely address by President Obama (on recording, of course, but still very cool), another one by Madeleine Albright, and even the Secretary of State for California turned up to speak. All of them did a beautiful job recognizing the hard work and persistence our new citizens had displayed to get to this moment. I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the place.
We stood for the Pledge of Allegiance together; a moment that moved me to my core. There were over 1000 new citizens, and the spectator section was packed. In that moment, regardless of our ancestry we were American; standing tall and together.
With all that went on, the kids came away with a sense that being a citizen of the USA is a privilege. They were lucky enough to be simply born in this country, while others wait literally years on the path to citizenship. The golden ticket these people have worked so hard for, my children and I were handed without question at birth. It was a sobering moment of realization for all of us. The kiddos had questions, and lots of them.
We went to this event to support our loved one, and hoped a little civics might rub off. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we would come away so enriched. I’m proud to be an American.