|When Sabila became a citizen, she had to "swear her allegiance" to the U.S.|
Today I feel American. Today I AM an American. I am now a citizen of the U.S. My family has been living in the U.S. for five years as permanent residents. We know that being a citizen of the U.S. has certain advantages for a person. It gives us secure jobs; we can travel without problems; more facilities are available; and most important of all, we have the right to vote.
We applied for the U.S. naturalization test in November 2005. The INS office took our fingerprints for background checking before they can send letter for the interview. In the meantime we looked over the basic test material like U.S. History, reading and understanding English.
On April 5, 2006 I took my citizenship test in Baltimore. I was taken to a secluded room for my interview. Before the interview I had to raise my right hand and say that I will “speak only the truth, so help me god.”
I was nervous at the time and I was breathing hard. My interviewer heard me breathing long so she asked me, “Are you nervous?”
“A little,” I said. She tried to make me comfortable by talking and being nice to me. She went over my application with me to verify the information. Then she asked me ten questions about the U.S. government. I also read one question and wrote a sentence which I thought was pretty easy.
After passing the test, I was told to come back in the evening for the naturalization ceremony. When I went home, I told my mom all about it. She was happy for me and nervous about her upcoming interview.
At 2:00 p.m. I left home with my dad for the ceremony. There were 31 proud new citizens at the ceremony. Before getting the certificate all the candidates had to stand up and rise their right hand to take an oath to defend and be loyal to our new country and to go to war when required by the law. One by one we got our certificate of citizenship and then we heard a message from the president.
Now I have two countries which I care about and belong to. The U.S. has given me the opportunity to shape my life. But I am still a Bengali and I love my native country, the country that made me who I am.
Mrs. Semirot is another person, like me, who became a citizen. She is a Blair history teacher who has been living in the U.S. since 1991. She came to the U.S. so she could work for the Russian government.
But as she lived in the U.S., she was able to learn more about the U.S. “I admire the freedom of speech and of the press,” said Mrs. Semirot. She also added, “I wanted my daughter to have more freedom.”
When Mrs. Semirot came to the U.S., Russia was a communist country where people didn’t have many rights and were not allowed to voice their opinion involving their government. “I wanted to participate with the decision making that can affect our lives,” she said. “I don’t want to be an outsider. Now Mrs. Semirot can vote and can travel with a U.S. passport. “I cut off my connection with Russia,” Mrs. Semirot said.