Monday, June 16, 2008

Welcome immigrants on sacred ground

Here is a feel good story we can all enjoy. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who has presided over naturalization ceremonies each month at the U.S. courthouse in Alexandria. He himself is an immigrant, born in Bogota, Colombia.

Ellis had the idea to swear in immigrants from over 30 countries at the Arlington National Cemetery, which had never been done before. The story states, "He wanted to impress upon the new citizens the sacrifices made for their freedom."

"This is truly a wonderful day," said Ellis, his voice cracking, as he gave an emotional tribute to the virtues of citizenship, U.S. history and the warriors buried around him. Speaking in a white-columned amphitheater dating to 1864, in front of a stone marker bearing the Latin phrase "e pluribus unum" from the Great Seal of the United States, he told the immigrants and their families: "It is a wonderful day for each of you, because today you will join the land of the free and the home of the brave."


"I did it to honor our country's warriors and to give the new citizens a sense for what makes this country great," Ellis said.

I heard the Judge on the news say that the soldiers who sacrificed everything for us, gave us "all of their tomorrows."

Beautiful. I am so grateful to live in this country.