La Roja’s Adventure At A Naturalization Ceremony.
Last week, I attended a US Naturalization Ceremony in Oakland Park, Florida to watch a Latino friend of mine take the oath and become a citizen. I must say, watching 175 people from 41 different countries pledge allegiance to the United States was pretty cool and, for most of the ceremony, I was really feeling the patriotic vibe and happy to be there! But then, things got really uncomfortable, really fast…
So, let me just set the scene for you: It’s the close of the ceremony, all of the countries of origins recognized, Pledge of Allegiance said, National Anthem sung, and Naturalization Oath declared. It should be over, right? No! The newly sworn-in citizens are then instructed to get out their mini-flags and sing along to “God Bless the USA” aka “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood via the lyrics on the screen. I chuckle, that’s an interesting choice, but hey, it’s a really well-known song and it fits the fuzzy-warm patriotic feeling we had going. I decide to turn my iPhone from camera to video so I could share this moment with my friend who was in the crowd (video posted below), but suddenly, I get this weird feeling and I swear, the vibe in the room went from excited to uncomfortable. The Immigration Officer who, minutes earlier, patrolled the aisles doing his official duty of making sure everyone was swearing-in according to the Law, was now barking orders at the new citizens to wave their flags higher, sing louder, and during the appropriate lyric-cue….stand up.
To be clear, I’m very proud of my country and I have no political motive behind this post. Saying that, I would like to know:
- Is it just me…or does this seem inappropriate?
- I learned this is standard across the country….so, since when is an official government ceremony the place for a commercially-created patriotic song?
- These people have been citizens for approximately 2 minutes, is this too soon to expect them to be “Proud to Be An American” and then “prove it” by singing the loudest and waving their flag the highest?
Check out the video I took and let me know your thoughts!