June 10, 2015, we declared Citizenship Day in the Mix/Willis household. It grew into Citizenship Week, but I will get to that later. For now, here beginneth the day when Canadian son-in-law David became a United States Citizen.
The sky was blue and even their balcony declared it to be a special day.
David was excited and ready to go. What better way to start the day than standing on your balcony surveying the country that will soon be yours.
Flags over the streets in Lowell, MA where the ceremony would take place. It is Massachusetts so the flags may fly all the time, and we like to think they flew today because of the very important celebration of new citizens.
Traffic in town was tight so Meredith dropped David to get in line. Then she said, "Mama, get out and go. Someone has to witness this." And so I joined David. It was not long before Meredith had found a parking place and joined us. The line was long and filled with excitement.
Meredith had given David a rose boutonnière
and we pinned a little American flag beside it.
There were lots of little ones dressed in Red, White and Blue. They too became citizens when their parents did. I am glad this dad let me take his daughter's picture.
Judge William Young was amazing and told both personal and judicial stories in his very brief remarks. One was that he had presided when his daughter-in-law became a citizen. When asked to raise her right hand, he watched her switch her baby from her right hip to her left in order to be able to raise her hand.
Family and friends were in the balcony. Directly across from us against the back wall (leaning forward next to a man in a white shirt and tie) is David. Our positions allowed for waving, smiling and of course lots of texting until the ceremony began. At one point those becoming citizens are asked to pass their invitations to be there to the end of the row. Then someone comes by and takes their green card. Meredith turned to me and said, "he is nervous with no papers." Immediately she gets a text from David, "this feels really strange, having no papers. The man next to me is really upset." They were in limbo, having neither declared their allegiance to the US nor having any papers that gave them legitimacy.
The Oath itself is administered by the Clerk of the Court. It is an interesting oath and is given to all regardless of gender and age. I say that because much of it has to do with bearing arms to protect the country if so ordered. Following the Oath we were led in the Pledge of Allegiance by a young airman. I was a little disappointed because his English wasn't too good and he was hesitant. We all knew it though and said it. When the ceremony was over, the Judge announced that the airman was receiving his certificate of citizenship and he (the Judge) was honored to present it to him. Wow!! So much for being judgmental, Susan.
After the Pledge, we sang the National Anthem. You can see the retired soldier in front of us saluting. That was when the tears came. We live in an amazing country and 881 people said, "Yes! We want to be a part of this country." Their desire has nothing to do with political opinions, but rather with the ability to be able to express those opinions openly and freely.
And so the first thing David did was register to vote. We thought he would have to go the next day but the registrar was there and David filled in his papers. Having worked here for as long as he has, this was first on his reason for citizenship, being able to vote, to have a say (even one vote's worth) in his government.
He even thinks once he retires from flying, he might run for city council.
Congratulations, to David Willis, one of our newest citizens and Patriots!
(Stayed tuned for his continuing saga)