All could learn from new citizen’s patriotism

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, one of Berrien County’s leaders became an American citizen.

Barbara Craig, the dean of students at Lake Michigan College’s Niles campus, is an active member of the Niles community, and is well known for her sense of humor and British accent. After living permanently in the United States for the past two decades, Barbara felt it was important that she be able to weigh in on the decisions that affect she and her family, so she applied for dual-citizenship.

A difficult decision for someone who loves their home country as much as she does, Barbara has found a loyalty to her new home country, and she wanted to be able to exercise the rights that her friends and neighbors do.

So often as Americans, we take for granted the fundamental rights we possess just by being citizens of our country.

Too large a percentage of residents choose not to vote on issues that impact them right at home. With voter turnouts ranging anywhere from 8 to 20 percent at the highest during non-presidential elections, Barbara’s desire to have a say in these issues speaks volumes to her dedication to the United States, and it is truly inspiring to witness.

Equally heart-warming is Barbara’s excitement to be able to say the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time along with her Rotary peers. We’ve said these words over and over again since we first learned them in kindergarten. We mumble them at board meetings and spend more time arguing over two words than understanding the significance of the pledge itself.

This woman, a British-born citizen, is excited to be able to recite this pledge, and expects it to be a very special experience.

If we all held our right to vote to the same importance as Barbara, or valued the words in our Pledge of Allegiance with the same accord, imagine how much better our country would be.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.