August of this year will mark the five-year anniversary of my “Green Card” status, and I will be eligible for citizenship. In my entire fifty odd years on this planet, I have voted once.

Only once in my adult life have I been able to influence the leadership of the country I was living in. I intend to become a citizen of the United States as soon as possible.

Growing up in a former British Colony meant that European and UK history was mandatory for all students. I know more useless facts about the War of the Roses, Napoleon, and various English Politicians than I do about the history of the United States.

At the grand age of thirteen, I was given a choice of learning either Canada’s ten provinces or America’s fifty states.

Simple math for a blossoming adolescent; 10 or 50?

There wasn’t a single person in my class who chose the US. So I also have a wealth of knowledge regarding the ten provinces, three territories, and each major stop of the Canadian National Railway.

This means I begin my studies for my citizenship test with a clean slate.

Yesterday I attended a friend’s birthday party and everyone who attended had immigrated to the US. Why would twenty odd people, some from the UK, some the Caribbean, some Canada make a conscious, deliberate decision to move to this country?

Because the US really is “the land of opportunity”.

It’s my considered opinion that the “can do and fiercely patriotic” attitude Americans personify are the reasons we’re both envied and vilified internationally. We stand up for what we believe, the declaration of independence, the right to the pursuit of happiness, the freedom of religious choice. Rights inherent to every citizen of the United States that are not necessarily granted to citizens of many other countries.

And this spirit of patriotism, this belief in defending our values and morals, is what prompted thousands of youngsters to volunteer after the events of nine-eleven eight years ago. My editor’s son was one of those young men, and he composed a beautiful and touching video about why he signed up, photos of his family and friends and the country.

So, on this most important day, I offer a heartfelt thanks to the each and every member of our armed forces. We salute your courage, your selfless devotion to the country, and we pray for your safety.

Happy Independence Day!

I’ll leave you with a slice of Independence trivia:

Did you know that three presidents died on July Fourth?

Two of the “Founding Fathers” Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson ,died on the same day and within hours of each other - July 4, 1826, while President Monroe died five years later on July 4, 1831.

12 comments

  1. Edie Ramer // July 4, 2009 at 12:05 PM  

    Jianne, this is beautiful. Thanks for reminding us that the 4th is more than parades, fireworks and barbeques.

  2. Mary Marvella // July 4, 2009 at 1:53 PM  

    Jianne,

    You gave me chills! Words of patriotism, The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, and other such songs effect me in a very physical way.

    My parents met during WW II. Daddy was a 17 year old boy from rural Mississippi and Mama also 17 in Augusta, Georgia. They loved each other and they loved this country and the freedom it offers.

    Even now tears flow when I think of them and the liberties so many people here take for granted. Because of a war the kid who often went barefoot and hungry met the daughter of a single mother of eight.

    They taught us gratitude for what we had in this country.

    Better stop before this becomes a sermon or a lecture.

    Happy 4rth. Take time to count your blessings.

  3. Judy // July 4, 2009 at 2:58 PM  

    Excellent post, Jianne! I'm proud to be an American! I've traveled enough to see how wonderful we have it here. Not perfect, for sure, but the best place I know of to enjoy the kind of freedoms for which others must fight. Happy 4th!

  4. Georgia Woods // July 4, 2009 at 7:05 PM  

    Jianne, what a wonderful post! You give us a whole new point of view and remind us of what is important. As your editor, I appreciate your nod toward my son - I'm very proud of him, and of my son-in-law who deploys this Fall. As your friend, you make me grateful for the opportunity to share laughter and tears and friendship with such a warm and wonderful addition to this country, and very proud to cheer you on.

    Hugs!
    Georgia

  5. Mary Ricksen // July 4, 2009 at 9:31 PM  

    It takes someone like you Jianne to remind us all what we have.
    How great that you are here now to share in it. And how lucky I am to say I am an American.

  6. Mona Risk // July 4, 2009 at 10:15 PM  

    Thank you, Jianne for a great post. I traveled lot around the world and had fun wherever I went. But when I came back home I always said God bless America. What we have here, that sense of freedom, doesn't exit anywhere in the world. Today I heard my five-year old granddaughter sing God bless America, her hand on her heart. I had tears in my eyes.

  7. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 4, 2009 at 10:20 PM  

    Jianne, as native born Americans I think we sometimes take for granted the rights that others are often denied. Thanks for reminding us to be thankful for our many blessings. We will be proud to have you join us as an American citizen! Wonderful post!

    Scarlet

  8. Dayana // July 5, 2009 at 10:33 AM  

    Jianne, what a wonderfully beautiful sentiment. We, Americans, tend to take this country for granted. I really enjoyed that eye-opening post. Thank you for sharing your POV and the gentle slap in the face at what this great country stands for.

    Dayana~

  9. Nightingale // July 5, 2009 at 11:57 AM  

    Jianne, it is so nice to hear someone say something positive! My ex is British and he just took his citizenship.

  10. Beth Trissel // July 5, 2009 at 2:33 PM  

    Very interesting and touching post, Jianne. I enjoyed it. I knew About the first two presidents who died on the fourth of July but not Monroe.

  11. Pamela Varnado // July 5, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

    Jianne,
    I bet you're excited.

    A wonderful tingly feeling comes over me everytime I vote. It makes me proud to be an American. Being the spouse of a retired military man, I've traveled all over the world and I can tell you there's no getter honor that can be bestowed on a person than a US citizenship.

  12. Joanne // July 6, 2009 at 5:05 PM  

    Thanks for the heartfelt post, Jianne. My beautiful adopted daughter is from S. Korea and I well remember her citizenship ceremony. (Which consisted of her at 15 months old running through a very crowded courtroom dressed in red, white and blue and waving a small American flag.) God bless America!