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The colonies and the United States of America have been built on immigrants. In the best and worst of times, people have abandoned everything they have known to risk their very lives to immigrate to our beloved country. 

After assimilating into their dream and in seven or 10 years, they are offered the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. 

We are not a nation of hyphenated Americans. With a clear mind and emotion, they recite the oath: 

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.” 

Today, we are faced with rebellion and riots of those who were so fortunate to have been born a U.S. citizen, but have no understanding of all that means. 

In the United States, a person is restrained to his/ her destiny only by his/her own dreams and mission in life. To squander a privilege that others risk their lives to pursue is such a waste of such a privilege. 

I have been called many things, but the most important and proudest is to be called a citizen of the United States of America. The honor of my pride was taught through my parents, faith, school and hard knocks. 

I grieve for the divide of our nation. As in many faiths, it might be, that when a person born in the U.S. reaches the age of reason, should be required to understand and pledge the oath to be a U.S. citizen. The biggest privilege is our right to vote. The future of our nation requires you to vote Nov. 3. 

My father, Norman E. Wedekind, was born in DeLand on Hazen Road in 1917. He graduated from DeLand High School, lived through the Depression, served in the U.S. Navy, raised a family, practiced his faith, and died in DeLand in 2003. 

I was a Florida state trooper for 32 years and moved my wife to her birthplace in Kentucky after retirement. I miss my home of DeLand and worry for the future generations. 

— A former DeLand resident, Wedekind now lives in Greenup, Kentucky. 


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