Happy 4th of July, everyone! Thank you to our troops for defending our country and freedom every single day. Looking at the events happening in Egypt and around the world, it’s sometimes easy to take what we have here for granted. Which brings me to the point of this blog post: Today is my first Independence Day as a citizen of the United States.
Some history: I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in October 1988. My parents planned to move to the US shortly thereafter, but the United States changed policies in 1988 which closed the temporary processing of visas for Soviet Jews.
“Soviet Jews applying for refugee status in both in Moscow and in Rome would have to prove in interviews with consular authorities a well-founded fear of persecution.” (cis.org)
This setback forced my parents to start a journey which would eventually lead them to the United States, but not before taking a bit of a detour. We moved to Israel in 1992, and then to Canada in 1996. From ages 7-12, I grew up in three Canadian cities (Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa); now you know where my love of hockey comes from..
Long story short, in the summer of 2000, my mom got a job offer from a company in Chicago, so we decided to make the move.
I’ve now lived here more than half of my life. Finished high school and college here. Last year, I finally started the application process and became a naturalized citizen in September. I was able to vote for the first time ever, which was pretty neat. I still have my Israeli and Canadian citizenships, and although I do not plan to ever move back to either country, I do plan on keeping all three citizenships.
It didn’t even dawn on me until this morning that this is my first 4th of July as a citizen of this country which is celebrating its 237th birthday. I’ve told my friends numerous times over the years that I feel more American than some people who were born in this country, and now I am proud to be part of the crowd for real. Hope everyone reading this enjoys the day off with family, friends, and good food – but remember not everyone gets to enjoy these privileges like we do here in America.