Becoming American

Merely coming to America is not enough for some people born in foreign lands. Our nation is such a beacon of liberty and prosperity that some choose to go through the rigorous process of becoming citizens.

How many do that says much about us, not just about our government but about us as Americans.

Just getting here legally can be difficult. Then, the citizenship process is quite demanding.

Yet during the past decade, 7.4 million people did it. Renouncing allegiance to the countries from which they came, they became citizens of this one.

To do that, they had to have lived here legally for at least five years. They have to be of good moral character, subject to background checks. They must learn to read, write and speak the English language. They must have knowledge of our history and government.

And they must vow to place our nation before all others — and to serve it, perhaps in the armed forces, if needed.

Some say the United States is not an exceptional nation. This Independence Day, it may be worth nothing that during the past 10 years, 7.4 million people have disagreed strongly.