Editorial - Respect for those taking the step
Reprinted by Permission
September 28, 2006
Thatıs one thing you could do.
Show your respect.
There are many ways to react to an important event thatıs planned Friday
afternoon at Marshall High School, but perhaps the best response is to
simply open our arms and say "welcome."
Thirty-six residents of Southwest Minnesota will be sworn in Friday as new
American citizens at the ceremony, which takes place in the Schwan Center
for the Performing Arts.
Itıs a big day for those new citizens, and the rest of us, too.
For them, because it means the culmination of years of studying and
commitment, in some cases leaving their homelands for the fear of death. For
us, because it sheds light on a topic many homegrown Americans too often
take for granted. How often do we really consider what it means to be an
These 36 certainly have given it thought. Theyıve pored over civics and
language books and been tested on their knowledge of American citizenship.
All thatıs left is Fridayıs oath.
If thatıs not enough to inspire you to think about citizenship, we invite
you to read the essays in todayıs paper and stories and other essays the
Independent will publish this week connected to Fridayıs ceremony. The
essays are mainly written by local school students, and their publication is
a joint project of the Independent, Adult Basic Education and some area
schools. Some of the students write from the perspective of being the
children of immigrants, others from having grown up here on the prairie.
Theyıre all interesting.
ABE has been a big player in the citizenship ceremony, helping train the new
citizens and also lobbying to get this yearıs southern Minnesota ceremony to
be held in Marshall. While residents from a wide region will be sworn in,
eight are from Marshall, and bringing the event to Marshall allows local
folks to watch it happen. ABE has invited K-12 students from throughout
southwest Minnesota, plus the public at large, to attend Fridayıs ceremony.
"If we donıt hear what others have gone through to come to this country, we
fail to recognize (even in a small way) how fortunate we are to live in this
country," said Adult Basic Education director Pat Thomas.
How important is citizenship to you? You donıt have to put it in writing,
but we invite you to spend a few minutes thinking about it. And then think
about the 36 people who gain citizenship Friday: Theyıll definitely tell you
what it means to them.