We were flagged last July

Flagged? Yes, flagged. Just like being flamingoed, except with US flags; exciting and, unlike the former, definitely not tacky.


July fourth last year was very memorable for us. More than 20 of my neighbors gathered in my front yard and decorated it with flags and chalk drawings. We had become citizens of the US in January 2012 and our annual neighborhood potluck-cookout on the fourth was going to be a celebration to welcome us as naturalized citizens.

I have the best neighbors.

Welcome Citizens!

I knew that they were going to do something special for us but I had no inkling of the scale of things even though there were flyers posted on all our common mailboxes in the 'hood. Oops!

Twenty adults and kids can create quite a racket but we had a giant noisy fan throwing air out of our rather hot house that we did not hear them at all. That's my excuse.

Stars and stripes, and a quote from LBJ

Neighbors were asked to bring little things that represent America to drop into three baskets that were laid out on a table. We got everything from toy currency to Matchbox cars to Little Debbie cupcakes to mac-and-cheese to a Martha Stewart cookbook. And there was cake.

Celebrating Citizenship
Gift baskets filled with things American, and a chocolate cake.

On our part, we held an impromptu face-off between two contestants who were quizzed using questions from the Immigration Test. A contestant had to get three consecutive questions correct to win a $15 iTunes gift card. We had three winners in all. It was a ton of fun and we also uncovered many history buffs in our hood.

It was the best party ever! This celebration gave a new meaning to July 4th for all of us. 

In Shiva and God, we trust
Liberties were taken!

I laughed and cried when I saw the new twist on the US motto. It reminded me of the words of the  USCIS officer who presided over our naturalization ceremony. When he declared us to be citizens of the US, he told us never to forget our roots and to make every attempt to share stories of our culture and traditions, not just with our children, but with our friends and neighbors. Diversity only serves to enrich and strengthen this great country further.