No Better Place to Become a Citizen

Naturalization Ceremony

Judge Fine presides over the naturalization ceremony at the Painted Desert Inn

Sometimes you find yourself in the right place at the right time.

Last Wednesday I was in Arizona for work at the Petrified Forest National Park.  But first, a colleague and I attended a naturalization ceremony that the park hosted at the National Historic Landmark Painted Desert Inn for nine new citizens and their families and friends.

It was Americana at its best.  No, it was more than that.  It was deeply moving as nine people made a life-changing decision to establish a new home in a new land.

A local girl scout troop – with a diversity that “looked like America” – acted as the color guard.  The Honorable Deborah M. Fine, other federal officials, and Park Superintendent Brad Traver, made remarks that got to the heart of the privilege and responsibilities of citizenship.  Several speakers noted that there was no better place to become a U.S. citizen than a national park – America’s “best idea.”  A recording of America the Beautiful took your eyes to the desert and the spacious skies, bringing chills to the bone.

Painted Desert

The beautiful Painted Desert

Painted Desert from the Inn

The view of the Painted Desert from the Inn

My colleague Brian turned to me and said, “Is there a better place to sing America the Beautiful?”  Nope.  I wish we would stop singing God Bless America at all these sporting events and sing America the Beautiful instead.  It is so much more inspiring.

In this day and age when we often demonize immigrants, it was refreshing to be part of a celebration of immigration.  Nine new citizens from eight countries, coming together as one.

More to come…

DJB

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