On Thursday, November 14th, I finally became an American (dual) citizen!
My appointment was for 12:00 in Pensacola at the Barrancas National Cemetery on the Pensacola Naval Air Station. From that point on, nothing went as we had anticipated...
We arrived at 11:30 and were directed to park in a gravel lot next to a warehouse. I said, "If THIS is where I'm going to become a citizen, I'm going to be a little ticked!" A little while later a few buses pulled up and drove us to the ceremony site in the cemetery (there isn't much parking there).
Once we arrived, there was more waiting, then all of the applicants had to register and then... wait some more until they were ready to seat us. It was Quite cold and windy out, the kids were starving by now and Caleb needed a diaper change (and I had forgotten the diapers in the van back at the lot). Philip managed to get a ride from someone back to the van for diapers and found a few more snacks too.
Finally, at 2:00, the ceremony got started... and went until after 4! Sheesh!!
I was originally slated for an oath ceremony last month, but Philip was still in Ohio, so I asked to be switched. That one was probably a normal one, with about a dozen or so people in a quick courtroom ceremony. While, on one hand that would have been really nice, it was kind of cool being able to be part of this special one, in honor of Veterans day on the base, which had never been done before.
There were 120 others being sworn in with me, representing 49 different countries. Pretty cool!
The kids playing with some new friends while they waited
All of us where in that block of seats on the other side of the aisle
View of the whole area
The four judges presiding
Moriah working on one of the coloring books I was able to snag for the kids
The color guard (who stood at attention the Entire time!)
Assistant United States Attorney, presenting us to the court for admission
The coolest part was when they passed the microphone to each of the 120 applicants so they could introduce themselves and say where they were from. The countries included: Philippines, Sweden, Peru, Jordan, Russia, Germany, Vietnam, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Georgia, Mexico, Ukraine, Poland, Iceland, India, South Africa, Iran, Italy, Venezuela, Romania, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Kenya, Hungary, Netherlands, Columbia, Thailand, Canada, China, Ireland, Honduras, Moldova, Brazil, Jamaica, and Bermuda.
All of us taking the oath
You can see the side of my head between two Navy hats in the second row
Judge Casey Rodgers administering the oath
Me peeking over the crowd
There were over a dozen young people, already serving in the Navy, who were just becoming citizens
One of the new citizens, Ashanti Elrington from Brazil gave a short speech
Poor Caleb got so tired he sacked out, even in the cold, in Philip's uniform fleece
Captain Keith Hoskins, Commanding Officer of the Pensacola Naval Air Station (the base hosting the event) giving some remarks
This isn't a great picture, but this is Dr. Leo Day, the Dean of the School of Music, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminar in Fort Worth Texas
He. Was. Amazing!! He treated us to the Star Spangled Banner and then closed the ceremony with a very moving rendition of America the Beautiful, which featured multiple different languages
(Philip and the kids were Such troopers through this whole ordeal and we were All glad for it to finally be over!)
I'm an American!
I knew this flag would come in handy sometime =)
I am proud to join the rest of my little family as Americans. Don't worry, fellow Canadians, I am still Very proud to call Canada my home, but am happy to be a dual citizen finally.