Independence Day: Let’s Celebrate!

fireworks2Today marks my country’s 237 year since declaring its independence from Great Britain. We still love the Brits, though I wish they would learn to spell words without superfluous vowels. (giggle.)

This morning, I will celebrate what makes America great by attending a citizenship swearing-in ceremony in my state’s capital. For the past four months, I have tutored three hard-working people on United States civics, history, and government to prepare them to take the Citizenship test, the last step in the process of becoming a citizen of the United States.

How does that make me feel?

Proud. Happy. Patriotic.

MarylandflagThe United States was founded on the principle of being a melting pot — combining traditions, cultures, and lives from all around the world. Our country was also founded on religious tolerance. My home state, in particular, was founded by factions of British aristocracy who were both Catholic and Protestant. Thus the black and gold in our state flag representing Protestant heritage, and red and white in the state flag representing the Catholic heritage. However, right up the road from where I live is an old established Quaker settlement, and around the corner from there is a huge mosque. Down the street is a Buddhist cultural center, and within a few miles of my home are about 30 other places of worship.

Well, enough history. I am thrilled, happy, and delighted that my three friends — one from Guatemala, one from Honduras, and one from Ecuador — will become citizens today, earn the right to vote, and enjoy the freedom and responsibilities that U.S. citizenship provides. Each earned at 100% score on their citizenship test. I am very happy for their success!

After the thrill of this citizenship event, I will return home, have lunch with the spouse, then go to my brother’s house for a traditional first-of-the-season Chesapeake crab feast. Yum! So much better than lahbstah. My spouse never attends these events with me. He hates crowds, noise, and all the fuss.

After visiting with my brother and family, I will return home about 5pm and prepare dinner for my spouse. We will relax in the evening and watch the fireworks and concert on television.

One thing: please call today “Independence Day.” While it occurs on the Fourth of July, it well could have occurred on several other dates, such as the official date of ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17.

Life is short: celebrate!