Monday, July 05, 2004

I never really cared too much about the Fourth of July since the Bicentennial celebration in 1976 when I was 8. And even then I had Schoolhouse Rock to thank, along with the fact that I grew up on a street in NJ where the Baylor Massacre took place.

But this Fourth of July was slightly more special than previous years because my son became an American citizen this year and got to watch fireworks for the first time. Of course, he didn't understand any of it--and won't for a few more years--but the idea of bringing him here to this country to live fills my heart with hope that he has a much better chance of leading a happy, healthy life than if he remained in an orphange in a coal mining city in southeastern Ukraine.

Now I'm not trying to be all self-righteous or anything--branding myself a saint for saving this poor little guy from destitution. I'll firmly admit that I adopted because I wanted a child, first and foremost.

However, I do think that the greatest part about my son being an American is that he has the freedom to choose. Since he was born in Ukraine, he will have dual citizenship until he turns 18. At that time, he can either renounce his Ukrainian citizenship, or he can decide to live in Ukraine and go into the army--a choice I'll wholeheartedly respect whichever he decides.

I often wonder, though, what the world will be like in 16 years. Maybe by then, this country won't be such a great place to live and Ukraine will have become an economic dynamo worthy of inhabiting. Maybe by then, all males by their 18th birthday will have to enter into the U.S. Army as is now the case with many other countries. Maybe by then, many of the rights we enjoy as Americans will be stripped away. Of course that would mean the collapse of our Democracy--something that just can't happen...

I shudder to think.

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