- Posted June 14, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
New citizens: Why did you become American?
Scottish by birth, American by choice
I met my wife online back in 1999 when 56k was considered a fast connection. I was in Scotland, she was in Chicago. It wasn’t a dating site, in fact I’m not sure if those existed back then, it was in an AOL chatroom. We chatted online and on the phone and within 6 months of meeting we were married and living in Scotland.
We quickly realized that there was no way we could have a good life living in Central Scotland and made the decision to move to Chicago. I arrived in Chicago in December of 2000 to the coldest temperatures I have ever faced but excited to start our new life in my new country.
I eventually received the green card that every immigrant dreams of, but that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to be a full citizen of my adopted country. I wanted all the rights that natural born Americans take for granted. I wanted to feel I was part of this greatest of all nations. I also wanted to prove my commitment to my wife.
I believe strongly in the Constitution of this country and just having the right to work here wasn’t enough, I wanted the right to vote and I wanted the right to call myself American. Pledging allegiance to the flag was one of the proudest moments of my life. It isn’t up to America to live up to my expectations, it is up to me to live up to the expectations of this country. This still is the land of dreams, and if you are willing to work hard you can still reap the rewards. No other country gives you the right to pursue happiness, and that is the right that I have grabbed firmly with both hands.
A lot of people complain about this country and it isn’t all sunshine and roses, but try living elsewehere without all the rights that you take for granted. In some ways, we immigrants are the lucky ones…we see more clearly the opportunities that this great nation affords all its people.
I may not have been born in this country, but I feel pride every time someone asks and I reply, “Yes, I am American.” I was born in Scotland, but I will be American until the day I die.
The simple answers to the questions asked are;
I became an American because I wanted to be part of the greatest nation on earth.
It all comes down to that first Declaration of Independence, those truths ring just as true today as they did back then and this is the only country in the world that stands up for those principles. The fact that so many of those signees share the same Scottish heritage as me makes it feel like America is my spiritual home.
In every aspect of my life, being an American has far exceeded my expectations.