It was announced late last week that President Bush will be attending the annual Independence Day and Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, of course, is a giant in American history, constantly being reconsidered, his genius just as much apparent as his personal foibles and character flaws. Still, it was Jefferson who gave voice to the multitude of concerns which drove the people of America to found a new country, a new way unlike anything the world had ever seen. A nation founded on the principle of being a free state for all men. It took over 200 years, but we’re closer to Jefferson’s dream than ever before.
President Bush will celebrate those principles on the last Fourth of July of his second term, but he will also welcome into our society men and women who took the difficult step of leaving their homelands to become a part of the American dream. Despite the recent hub bub over immigration, these people should be honored for wishing to become part of this dream and taking the proper steps to do so.
This ceremony has special importance for me. One, as a UVA Grad, I have the typical Jefferson obsession, but I also work at a home which was heavily influenced by Jefferson’s architectural style. Additionally, I have seen President Bush before. I was in the front row of an event held at NOVA Community College in 2004. The theme was “The Ownership Society,” and one of the topics was personal health accounts. I was just feet away from the man throughout the whole thing, and he passed us by as he exited. I did not get to shake his hand, but throughout the whole ceremony, I felt genuinely secure. Right or wrong, President Bush took the action that he thought would protect the American people. It has to be incredibly trying to decide to send American sons to war.
But at any rate, as we exited the townhall, there was a couple arguing with some young protesters on bikes just outside the hall. A typical scene, but there was something very special about this couple: they were recent African immigrants, dressed in their native attire. They had made their own difficult decision, had seen in the American dream the chance (the chance is all that matters) at a better life and they took it. They became fully invested in America, involving themselves in the process of electing a President. And here they were, defending their men against some privileged liberals who had the great fortune of being born in America in the first place. It was an incredible scene that will stick with me always.
Information is forthcoming, but right now the President is scheduled to speak at Monticello at 10 A.M. The press release can be found here. I will update the post when more information is available and put this on the website calendar.
With the time, you may be able to make the event (Charlottesville is a half hour drive) and still be back in time for the Parade in New Market. If anyone has any interest in perhaps taking a caravan down, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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