Land Of Hope & Glory!

After 22 Years I Finally Became An American Citizen

On Thursday last week, I had the privilege of finally becoming a U.S. Citizen. It felt great! After a journey of more than 22 years, I’m proud to call myself not only a naturalized resident of this wonderful nation but, foremost, an American!

The path to this accomplishment has not always been easy. I can tell you that with absolute conviction! There were times that I wanted to throw in the terrible towel, although the expression “terrible” had a completely different connotation for me than its Pittsburgh sibling!

After all the Prospecting Visas – HB1s, HB2s, E2s, I-765, EAD, I-485, EAs, RFEs, NOIDs, more RFEs, the fees, the interviews, and finally my Green Card (Permanent Residency), it felt like the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), had squashed me with a steam roller!

Still, I persevered and I’m glad I did. It was worth every penny and every drop of the anxious perspiration that dripped from my forehead each time an envelope from the DHS showed up in my mailbox. Although I love the country of my birth, the U.S. gave me an opportunity that I could never have achieved if I’d stayed on the old continent.

Then there are the friendships I have built up over the years. People always have welcomed me and my family from day one. Never have I felt left out or shunted down to a second level, and the friendships that were generated over the years are solid. I love ‘em all!

So, when I stood there during the oath ceremony and heard the words “Congratulations, you are now an American,” I must say that I let out a small gasp for air and wept an invisible tear! To have the sword of Damocles removed from over my head, to have that 700-pound gorilla climb off my back, made life feel pretty good at that particular moment!

And I have a lot to thank Squadron for. The company has been very instrumental in my case. If it weren’t for their sponsorship, helping to legalize my path to glory, I would not be here today. I would have found myself seasick on some old rusty banana boat lumbering back to Belgium 10 years ago!

So, thank you, Squadron, for “aiding and abetting” me in making my longtime dream come true!

Also, let’s not forget my lovely and patient wife Jill, who has diligently stood beside me with a bucket of ice water just in case some other setback should send me reeling to the floor. Gotta love her!

And to all my friends who believed in me, helped me, and supported me in my quest. I thank you all!

Last but not least I want to pay homage to the most exciting, grand, wonderful, beautiful, and inspiring Nation in the world,

God bless the United States of America!

Cheers!

JV

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Mike Upton

    It’s a honnor and a Joy to say CONGRATULATIONS and THANKYOU
    for becoming an AMERICAN CITIZEN.
    I love modelbuilding. I love Squadron.
    But I really LOVE stories like this.
    JV rockin the house. Beautiful.
    Mike

    • admin

      Thank you Mike! The honor is all mine!Appreciate the nice comment!

  • Arnel Flandez

    Congratulations and A BRAVO ZULU for your Perseverance and Conviction on becoming a citizen of this great nation – The United States of America; Land of the Free because of our Brave Citizens like yourself who like our founding fathers sought out a better life in another country. GOD BLESS YOU and Your Family Always JV! Keep modelling!!!

    • admin

      Thanks Arnel! It is citizens like you that make the US a great place to live!

  • Scott Hollingshead

    Congratulations JV! You certainly have earned my respect for working through our process to become a citizen of our great country! Having visited a few different countries during my Navy years, I have certainly not found any place that I would rather be. Thanks also to your family and friends who supported you through your journey!

    • admin

      Thanks Scott! You right. The US is the best place on earth!

  • David Waples

    Congratulations on becoming a citizen of our great country. In my office I have a large mural of the Statue of Liberty and it’s inscribed with the words of the New Colossus… “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” The old girl is stronger than ever and we’re better off for having you as an American citizen! I’m going to step outside and put up the flag that flew over the Arizona Memorial for you today.
    Dave

    • admin

      Appreciate the nice comment. I had the opportunity to see her myself in January.

    • Sea Child

      Excellent post. Many thanks. I sailed past the Grande Dame last week and rehearsed that famous statement with deep emotions. I’m putting up my Betsey Ross flag in light of your example.

  • Marc McCain

    All I can say is congratulations and welcome!!

    • admin

      Thanks Marc!Always felt welcomed!

  • Joe Murray

    It’s a privilege to congratulate and welcome you, Jeff. It’s a lot harder today than when my Irish grandparents came here and since they went through their own hardship to get here, I was born a citizen of this great experiment. When the grandparents arrived, the country needed help building railroads and factories so it was easier to get here and become a citizen.

    I spent a good deal of time in Europe with the Army back in the early sixties. My assignments had me traveling a good deal across Germany and France. Whenever I arrived at a U. S. Army, Air Force or Navy installation and saw the flag flying it was a great emotion; it was family and home. Welcome to the family, Jeff. Glad you’re here.

    • admin

      Thanks Joe!,
      You are right, it wasn’t easy but I’m glad I’m here! Loved every day of the 22 years!

  • Scott Copeland

    Congratulations Jef! You worked hard for years to get this honor. Those who had to work for it are frequently better US Citizens that those of us born to it. I am happy for you, and proud to say Welcome My Fellow American!!!!

    • admin

      Thanks Scott, I really appreciate the nice comment!

  • Charles Zoghbi

    Fantastic, Jef! I remember when my father gained his American citizenship. I also understand just how lengthy and laborious the process can be, having been involved in my wife’s and son’s path to achieving their citizenships. Congratulations to you and your family!

  • Greg

    Welcome! I love America! I am so glad you went through the process to join us as Americans! May God always guide and protect us and may your family always find joy!

  • denoferth

    Congratulations and welcome, Jef. I thank my lucky stars my Polish and Hungarian grandparents followed that route into the Pittsburgh, Washington, Pennsylvania and Ohio area so many years ago as well.

  • Sea Child

    Mega-Congratulations. Your odyssey is inspirational and humbling. My LPR wife is currently pursuing her application. I have done the legal work in her case and appreciate all too well the process and your non-trivial accomplishment. I thank God everyday for this country.

    Thank you for your excellent lessons. Your contributions to the hobby are significant. I appreciate Squadron even more knowing of their support with your citizenship efforts. Kudos to you both.

    My heart sings with this news. It is a privilege to say “welcome fellow Citizen.”