Saturday, July 19, 2008
photos by Mark M. Hancock / © NewsEagles
A legal immigrant holds a U.S. flag as she becomes an American citizen at the Department of Homeland Security in Dallas on Friday, July 18, 2008.
Fayrouz Hancock becomes an American citizen at the Department of Homeland Security in Dallas on Friday, July 18, 2008.
Legal immigrants take the Oath of Allegiance to become American citizen at the Department of Homeland Security.
Fayrouz Hancock takes the Oath of Allegiance. Fayrouz was previously a citizen of Iraq and Australia.
For the record, ICE allows family members to photograph the Oath and make photos next to the cardboard cutout. They pull black curtains over everything else during the ceremony. I've shot other citizenship ceremonies, but those were always in public venues.
As y'all can tell, Fayrouz and I had a good day. It's unfortunate we don't see more images of this important moment in many Americans' lives. This is the point where the "pursuit of happiness" begins.
After seven long years of struggles and setbacks, Fay is now a U.S. citizen with all the rights and responsibilities afforded to such.
After we moved back to Dallas, the government finally decided she was a good girl long enough and granted her a citizenship interview. She's studied the citizenship manual since we lived in Beaumont and knows more information about the United States than many native-born folks know (name the specific Constitutional Amendments - by number - that address voting rights).
We honestly expected today's appointment to lead to another appointment, etc. But they surprised us and asked if she wanted to take the Oath of Allegiance today. Four hours later, she became a part of the fabric of America.
Because of my family history and service to the nation, I take citizenship very seriously. I have internalized it. I am a Patriot.
It's strange, but I can't sing the words to the "Star Spangled Banner" because my voice will crack. I can't listen to "God Bless The U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood without my eyes filling with tears.
They played Greenwood's song during today's ceremony. Both Fay and I were fighting a losing battle with big tears.
Welcome home Fayrouz. I couldn't be more proud of you.
Enough for now,