My name is Alvaro Meythaler, I was invited today to share with you some of my personal feelings as a brand new Citizen. It is an honor for me to try to express what could be happening in the hearts and minds of this group of people.
To me, this ceremony revives the hopes and dreams of all immigrants. Those first pilgrims of the Mayflower, the immigrants that arrived through Ellis Island, and today’s new immigrants, that arrive through airports or even walking at the borders, share the same dream: “the pursue of happiness through the veins of freedom.”
I was born in Ecuador, South America, where I met and married my beautiful American wife. I moved to this country ten years ago and I cannot even compare how much my live has changed in the last ten years. I have two wonderful kids; I graduated from the University not once, but twice. In addition, I have the joy to work in this marvelous Library, the Phoenix Public Library, which represents the exercise of a fundamental concept of the nation. A concept considered a pillar of this society: Any man or woman has the freedom to decide what he or she wants to read, to write, to learn, to think, to believe or to say; because each individual has the right to be anything that he or she decides to be.
I moved to this country because of love. Love to my wife. If I could imagine why each of these new citizens moved to this country, I, most likely, will find several reasons: prosperity, politics, peace, persecution, economic opportunities, religious freedom, justice, education, employment, or even natural disasters. However, I believe that all really moved to this country for one single reason… LOVE. Love for their families, love for their future, love for their descendants, but mainly love for themselves since each human being wants to have the liberty to design their own live, to design their own future, to color it, and to live in it with their loved ones.
Today, we receive the most important title of our lives, the title of Citizens of the United States. Not only we will forever be part of this country, but also we will have the opportunity to help shape its future with our work, with our voice and, most importantly, with our votes. I wonder how many people in the world would love to receive the title of “Citizens” today. What an honor.
I ask God to bless this country, its people, its land, and the opportunities it offers to all of us. Congratulations new citizens and never forget why you came to this country and for whom you did it. Keep your hopes and dreams in your hearts and in your minds… you will reach them.
And thank you, my beautiful wife for all this time together… I love you.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.