I can still remember the time, years ago, when my wife sat at the kitchen table, going over the little history pamphlet that the U.S. State Department gave out to immigrants who wished to pass the citizenship test and become a citizen.
She had studied our history; various historical events and the three branches of government, and why separation of powers was such a great thing.
So here she was that morning, in the kitchen of our home on Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii, doing a last minute review of what immigration officials might ask her.
We then got up, drove down to the American consulate for her to be queried, tested, and hopefully found acceptable as "citizen". The consulate in those years stood just off the harbor, Aloha Tower in the foreground, place where millions of immigrants over time had seen their own first look at America. And as I looked out on Aloha Tower, I thought it most appropriate that she become a citizen here, at a place where the first stirrings of the American dream took place for so many.
My wife met the consular official, was interviewed, and was asked one or two rather simple questions on our history, then was sworn in as "citizen", me beside her in Air Force uniform, symbol for those who had sworn to protect the very Constitution that my wife swore to honor and respect.
In later years, proud of her citizenship, my wife began attending GED classes at night a a local high school. She got her GED, then would later spend hundreds of hours studying for a Cosmetology license, the "life tools" for her now forty year trade.
And she cast her first ballot for President in 1980. I don't pretend to know what was going through her mind as she marked her preferences on her election ballot. But, having grown up in Vietnam, a country where you could be persecuted or killed for marking the wrong block, her delight in this new found American freedom must have been palpable.
Most Americans are fortunate beyond all belief....you were born in this country and granted a freedom known to a paltry 25% of the world. You need not experience the trials and tribulations that so many other immigrants faced. And, today, you need not even fight for this country should you choose not to. But you do have the responsibility assigned to every citizen..........to get out there and vote today.