A Patriotic Friday

Before we leave to go to South Africa, I wanted to pause for a moment with an entirely patriotic, American moment. Yesterday, I drove up to Baltimore to attend the citizenship oath ceremony for Elder Aru, a missionary that we met in our Capitol Hill Ward at church.  He is a wonderful person and I had the pleasure of helping him out with his citizenship application.  He is the kind of person that makes me feel proud to be an American (the song that sentimentally played in the background as the names of those receiving their naturalization certificates was called that day), because I know he is the kind of American that will make this country a better place to live.  He has been through so much in his life, and I know that everyone who meets him is all the better for just having known him.

I am pretty sure that there is no event that can cause me to appreciate my citizenship rights more than attending a naturalization ceremony.  All of these people from diverse backgrounds and countries of origin were there that day to have their citizenship rights bestowed, and it was a powerful moment. These are people who had to work hard to obtain those rights and who had to overcome many obstacles.  These are people who cherished the concept of American citizenship that goes beyond the flag-pinned rhetoric of American politicians. These are people who earned their citizenship rights. 

It was a great day and we were very happy for Elder Aru.  His supportive entourage included two sets of kind couple missionaries also serving in the same mission:

My friend Matt, who also knew Elder Aru from the Capitol Hill Ward, was also able to attend:

I don’t get to use my substantive immigration law knowledge too often these days. For that matter, I don’t do much these days that leave me feeling like I have done much to really serve anyone else.  That is part of the reason why it was so great to be able to help Elder Aru.  However, the best part about it is that Elder Aru is just a great kid.


Great, great day! As a bonus, we were able to stop at the brand new Cafe Rio in Olney, Maryland on the way back. So, I was able to satiate my patriotic hunger with a delicious shredded chicken salad.

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