My great-grandmothers' journey to becoming a citizen of the United States is a story so full of pride that it makes your heart swell.
Luckily for us, we have video recordings, re-told by my great aunt Libby Rosen, an avid storyteller. But it goes somewhat like this--
My great-grandmother Rosen arrived in New York from Russia early 1900s, and her husband contracted tuberculosis. With six small children, they all moved to Denver, Colorado where they were told Jews were allowed (remember, Jews weren't allowed in all hospitals back then) at this hospital designed specifically for the treatment of tuberculosis.
There, my great-grandfather passes away and my great-grandmother is left with six small children to raise on her own. She opens a restaurant, and I know my grandpa Joe was the only child who was able to complete one year of high school, the other children all had to leave school to help raise and support the family.
Years pass, the children are all grown and married, and my great-grandmother Rosen decides she wants to become a citizen of the United States of America. At this time, she is retired and Libby Rosen, her daughter-in-law, helps her study for the exam. She could barely read or write English and her spoken English was heavily accented.
As the story goes, she approaches the judge and immediately forgets everything she has studied and fails the test.
Nerves got the best of her.
So, in her broken English, she says to the judge -- "Judge, I have had my children serve in the United States Army during WWII, I pay my taxes, and I am grateful to this country and the freedom and the opportunities given to me and my children, but I cannot pass this exam, I am too nervous."
And the judge looked at her, thanked her, and passed her on the spot.
And that is how my great-grandmother Rosen became a US citizen.
Unfortunately, I do not know the stories of my other 3 great-grandparents and if they ever became US citizens. I do know that all of them escaped Russia and Lithuania in the early part of the 20th century, in hopes of making a safe and better life for their children.
Fast forward four generations, even five generations later, we are all living safely in the United States of America.
A few years ago my husband also became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, and it was a proud day for us all!
So, when we are asked why do you sell American flags, it is simple:
This country allowed my family to live freely.
This country allowed my family to have freedom of religion.
This country allowed my family to have rights.
Had we still been in Europe...
I don't know if I would have been able to write this post.
May God bless the United States of America.