I Am (Finally) An American Citizen – and I have YOU to Thank!

I have been looking forward to today like I did to other monster milestones in my life….. Not quite the birth of my children or my wedding day, but easily on par with any graduation.

Today I walked into a courtroom in downtown St. Louis. I joined fifty other people from twenty-five different countries, and we, together, became citizens of the United States. I will admit to you, my friends, I cried. I actually cried. After America the Beautiful. After I stood, raised my right hand and swore an Oath to the United States, a country that has nurtured me for most of my life…. I took my seat, and wiped my eyes.

Do you ever stop to think about the beauty of the United States? We’re in the midst of an election year… a heated election. So, we’re inundated with opinions, with frustration, with a desire to move right and left, but do you ever remind yourself how extraordinary it is that we can vote, that we have a say in our government, that we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights? I’m not blind…. the United States isn’t perfect. But I spent the morning with men and women who have come from Yemen, Jordan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, China, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Vietnam among others…. and we were all equally in awe of our experience.

I walked from the courtroom, a newly minted American and the very first thing I did was register to vote. I literally SQUEAKED under the voting deadline. This was the last Oath Ceremony I could have participated in and still been eligible to vote. If my ceremony was NEXT Friday, I would be too late.

Maybe THAT is one of the reasons I am so emotional. This video shares how I feel about the experience and expresses my thanks for the many, MANY people who have shared my joy online, via calls and texts. (Try to ignore my sniffles and tears) I couldn’t be more grateful.

Do tell me – have you ever taken a deep breath and thought about what it means to be an American?

Again? Thank you.

My husband too, shares his thoughts and perspective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=589290388 Nadia Carriere

    You are so beautiful inside and out! Congratulations my friend! I know how much this meant to you and am so happy to be sharing the joy of this moment with you ;). This weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving and friends like you are just one of the reasons I am so thankful. Your honesty, kindness and goodness inspire me daily. Grateful and thankful for you! America is lucky to have you ;). Enjoy your weekend and CELEBRATE! xo

  • E.S. Ivy

    Congratulations!

  • http://twitter.com/momtrends nicole feliciano

    Wonderful news. And a great reminder on the gift of citizenship and the ability to vote. Congrats!

  • Danielle Smith

    I so appreciate this, Nicole. The very first thing I did was register to vote… I’m so very excited.

  • Danielle Smith

    Thank you so very much!

  • Danielle Smith

    My sweet friend – I am so grateful for you! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing my joy. Since I have lived here since I was five, it feels ‘right’ to finally be able to participate and vote – I am thrilled about that, but also, so happy my small people are also Canadian citizens…I was able to get them their citizenship last year before I began my journey to U.S. citizenship. This whole process has been an exercise in appreciating my heritage and sharing it with the people I love. Happy Thanksgiving. You are a treasure.

  • http://twitter.com/SAuerswald Sarah Auerswald

    Congratulations, Danielle! I know you’ve wanted this and worked hard for it for so long! Now – register to vote!!

  • http://twitter.com/mooshinindy Casey-moosh in indy.

    We’re so happy to have you. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/janedoiron13 Jane Doiron

    So happy for you, Danielle! :)

  • Danielle Smith

    Adore you. Thank you. xoxo

  • Danielle Smith

    Thank you, Sarah! It was actually the VERY first thing I did. I walked out of the Oath Ceremony and registered to vote :) I’m all set.

  • Danielle Smith

    Grateful, Jane. I appreciate it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vera-Sweeney/518434519 Vera Sweeney

    YEAH!!! my mom became a citizen a few years back – wonderful feeling! Congrats love

  • Victoria Dougherty

    Congratulations! This is the first time I’ve visited your blog and I am moved to tears. You see, I’m the daughter of political refugees – daring escapes, cruel forces of history, soul-crushing losses, but tremendous love and gratitude. We’ll raise a glass to you tonight in our household :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/momadvice Amy Allen Clark

    Oh, what a SPECIAL moment! It really brought tears to my eyes! Love you, my dear!!

  • http://twitter.com/DawnSandomeno Dawn Sandomeno

    Congratulations Danielle – what an exciting time to become a citizen. You have the opportunity to exercise the most cherished right to vote for President in a few weeks!

  • http://www.tothinkistocreate.com To Think Is To Create

    I can see the joy ALL OVER your face! Love you much!!! xo

  • http://twitter.com/JohnLusher John Lusher 

    A hearty congratulations ,and God bless you Danielle! You have pinpointed what it means to be an American and something we sometimes take for granted. Thank you for sharing and for caring so much that you did cry :). So happy for you!!

  • Danielle Smith

    Oh Vera – I didn’t know that! Thank you, my friend…. I hope my kids appreciate it too :)

  • Danielle Smith

    Oh Victoria – your words make me cry! First of all – thank you! It is hard for me to explain what it felt like standing in that room on Friday with the other 50 people – men and women who are clearly similar to your parents… I imagine your family knows just what I mean. The emotion was heavy. It was extraordinary. I send love right back your way.

  • Danielle Smith

    You are extraordinary – thank you. I am still emotional about it. xo

  • Danielle Smith

    Dawn – I think that is a portion of my strong emotion – I can FINALLY vote – after all of these years. And this ceremony was the very last one that would have allowed me the privilege this year. I’m honored. Thank you. xo

  • Danielle Smith

    Love you, my friend. I AM overjoyed…. thank you for recognizing it. xoxo

  • Danielle Smith

    John – thank you so much for sharing my joy – I am so grateful… grateful for my children to experience this with me, grateful that I can vote for the first time and grateful that I have the privilege of living here. Thank you.

  • niri

    Beautiful simply beautiful! I can totally relate as to how important this day was to you. Congratulations my friend. We need to celebrate in 1 week!

  • Danielle Smith

    I cannot wait to see you! Still waiting on my expedited passport! (fingers crossed!) Thank you so much, my friend!

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  • Amy @ Finer Things

    Congratulations, Danielle! Your passion is a great “kick in the rear” for complacent Americans. It reminds me of the excitement and drive from people who are brought into the church. Converts always know WAY more than the “cradles.” So happy for you!

  • Danielle Smith

    Thank you so much, Amy. I think that is a great comparison – you are so right. It is so easy to sit back and settle in when you are comfortable, but when you have to ‘work’ for something, your level of appreciation shifts. I’m grateful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Imig/500906522 Ann Imig

    I loved your husband’s post. We take so much for granted. Thank you Danielle, and congratulations!!

  • Danielle Smith

    Thank you so much, Ann. I’m truly thrilled… and I so agree with you. In a way, I knew that, however, standing in that room with those extraordinary people made everything so very real. I’m a very lucky girl.

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