Congressman Pittenger Speaks at Naturalization Ceremony
Mar 27, 2013
Welcome to the unique and special melting pot of America, and congratulations on becoming citizens of the United States of America.
Today, you are like spices in the hand of a skilled cook – when you take the oath, you’ll be carefully added to the mixture known as America. Like a spice, you’ll enrich our country by adding your own unique ideas and culture and background to the mix. But also like a spice, you’ll be blended into the mixture, no longer identified as an outsider, but united with us.
America is a land of immigrants, and I encourage you to fully embrace and be proud of your new identity as citizens of the United States of America. We all came to America from different parts of the world and different backgrounds. My family came from Europe, and part of my wife’s family came from Lebanon. We all came to America to seek a better life, and you have as much right to that better life as anyone.
Please remember that the better life won’t just be handed to you. America is a land of opportunity, where we have the freedom to pursue our dreams. There are no limitations because you are the wrong color, or the wrong class, or belong to the wrong political party. But pursuing your dream takes work. Sometimes hard work. Seize the opportunity you have been given.
Let me give you an example from my own life. When I first moved to Charlotte, I had very little. My wife and I, along with our four young children, lived together in a small, two-bedroom apartment for two years. Money was tight. But I had a dream of building a successful business, so I went to work. Being new to town, I had to work harder than everybody else. The process wasn’t easy, but this year we’ll celebrate the 25th anniversary of my company.
Only in America can a nobody become successful. Over the years, I have been blessed to know so many who have grabbed hold of opportunity and found success in America.
As new citizens of the United States, you now enjoy freedoms that were bought with blood. Lots of blood. Please don’t take this sacrifice for granted.
One of the greatest ways you can honor the sacrifice of those who died for freedom is to be involved. Voting, of course, is an incredible right and privilege, but I also encourage you to be involved in other ways. Pay attention to the issues and call your elected officials with your opinions. Volunteer your time and talent to help those less fortunate. Support our troops, and police officers, and firefighters by taking time to say thanks.
As I stated, from the very beginning, America has been a melting pot of immigrants. Now it’s your turn to join in, strengthening America even as America welcomes you and provides you with new opportunities.
Congratulations. May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.