My step-mom Kelly has been living in Calgary for nearly a decade, and yesterday she officially became a citizen of Canada. This was one of the biggest days of her life, and I am thankful to have bared witness to this important ceremony.
In the Citizenship Ceremony Room at the Harry Hays building that morning were 98 new citizens from 30 different countries who had all chosen to make Canada their new home. Justice Joe, the presiding judge, spoke earnestly to the new Canadians about how the gift of citizenship they were to receive also comes with an important responsibility to contribute to the Canadian story through active civic participation. He spoke specifically to the value of volunteering, an activity that keeps us connected, compassionate, and learning from one another. I couldn't help but wonder, how many Canadians have heard a similar message about their responsibilities as citizens?
To be surrounded by people from around the world who had overcome major trials to become a member of this country inspired me reflect on how often I take my citizenship, and all of its benefits for granted. We live in one of the wealthiest states in the world; a state that is rich in natural beauty, economic opportunity, good health and communal connectivity. That ceremony reminded that I am a beneficiary of all of this wealth, and that many of my fellow citizens are not. This reminder re-affirmed within me that I have a duty to actively contribute to the well being of my fellow citizens so that we can all live happy and healthy lives.
Yesterday I was reminded of one of the greatest gifts life has bestowed upon me, my Canadian citizenship, and of the responsibilities that accompany it. For that I am grateful.