As part of my research, I came across this CNN article.  It’s part of a series on American exceptionalism.  It includes interviews with American immigrants on what being American means to them.  It also describes their naturalization ceremony.

I was almost brought to tears reading the stories of how and why these folks came to our country and how excited they were to earn their citizenship.  Here are a few of my favorite snippets:

“As a writer with dissenting views, Emoke Barabas said she had been thrown in a Romanian prison under former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Her father showed her a photo of the Statue of Liberty, telling her, ‘This is the place where freedom lives.'”

“‘For me, American citizenship means freedom of expression and to live and work in a free country … and not have to be afraid of being arrested or harassed because of owning certain common books or pictures.'”



“‘No other country gives you the right to pursue happiness, and that is the right that I have grabbed firmly with both hands,’ Park said. ‘A lot of people complain about this country … but try living elsewhere without all the rights that you take for granted. In some ways, we immigrants are the lucky ones; we see more clearly the opportunities that this great nation affords all its people.'”

Check out the article for yourself here.