June marks Immigrant Heritage Month — and people across the country are sharing their American stories. Whether you’ve recently embarked on your first day as an American or want to share how your ancestors came to arrive here, we want to hear from you. Add your voice to the conversation today.
I pledge allegiance, to the flag – of the United States of America.
These were the first words I heard every day; in class, we had to stand up, place our right hands on our hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning before we started class. The thing about pledges is that they instill in you a strong sense of belonging; of identity; and of purpose. I grew to love that morning ritual – for a child who looked different, thought different, and acted different, it gave me a sense of belonging and a sense of place.
On March 25, 1999: that pledge carried a bit more meaning. It was the day I became an American citizen. While most of my friends were thinking about how to convince their parents to let them to go to the Britney Spears or N’Sync concert, I was quietly celebrating that on school forms, I would no longer have to check “Legal Alien.” I could finally say “U.S. Citizen.” The story, the dream, the hope I had for my life could finally become a reality.