The Corner

Immigration

On July 1, Nike Ditched the Betsy Ross Flag. On July 4, These African Immigrants Became Citizens Under It.

Fode Bade celebrates his five children being naturalized as American citizens at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia on July 4th (Chris Tremoglie)

Fode Bade did not know he was supposed to feel oppressed in the United States. However, as a native of Guinea, he certainly knew what oppression was. Entrenched poverty and periodic political violence plagued the African nation, and Bade’s survival to the next day was not guaranteed. In 2005, he came to the United States as a political refugee and was granted asylum. Free from the oppression of his native land, Bade prospered in America. And on July 4, he brimmed with pride as his four daughters and son became legal citizens of the United States at a special naturalization ceremony at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia.

On July 1, at the behest of Colin Kaepernick, Nike recalled their special Betsy Ross Flag Air Max 1 USA sneakers after the former quarterback expressed concerns over what “he believed are its associations with an era of slavery.” A billion-dollar corporation and a millionaire ex-athlete declared the patriotic flag as a symbol of racial oppression. Yet, on July 4, an African family, from a country victimized by the transatlantic slave trade, eagerly became citizens of a country under that very flag. Bade proudly stated, “I’m so grateful to this country.”

Children eagerly wait to be sworn in as naturalized U.S. citizens at a special ceremony at the Betsy Ross House on July 4th (Chris Tremoglie)

As part of “Welcome America,” Philadelphia’s annual weeklong July 4 celebration, 13 children became American citizens at a special ceremony at the Betsy Ross House. Thirteen children are selected to commemorate the original 13 colonies, and the venue is chosen in honor of the seamstress of the first United States flag featuring the stars and stripes. The ceremony is in its 15th year and features a swearing-in ceremony, patriotic decorations, colonial reenactors, and the symbolic ringing of a bell — one time by each of the children — to honor the 13 original colonies. “Coming here, being an American citizen is the greatest thing someone can have on this earth,” Bade told National Review.

Another African immigrant, Ahmed, from Morocco, also witnessed his son, also named Ahmed, become naturalized at the ceremony. When asked what he thought the flag symbolized, the elder Ahmed did not hold back: “A better life.” Fresh off his naturalization, Ahmed was beaming with pride and enthusiastically waving the American flag — the Betsy Ross American flag. “America is great,” he told National Review.

Ahmed (center) was one of thirteen children who were naturalized as American citizens at a special ceremony at the Betsy Ross House on July 4th (Chris Tremoglie)

The irony here should not go unnoticed. Leftist American elites peddle a narrative of oppression while those from some of the grimmest places on earth continue to see the United States as a beacon of hope. As a billion-dollar corporation and millionaire athlete sought to delegitimize American exceptionalism, an African father did everything in his power to make sure his children became legal citizens — and specifically did so at the house of the latest American hero that leftists have targeted as offensive. “Americans don’t realize how good this country is,” said Bade.

Chris Tunde, an African-American living in Philadelphia, had a strong opinion on the Nike-Kaepernick flag controversy. “I’m not a Trump supporter but this whole Betsy Ross, Kaepernick, Nike stuff is ridiculous,” Tunde told National Review. “Nike should have stood their ground and told Kap to kick rocks.” When asked what he believed the Betsy Ross flag represented, Tunde replied, “It was the first flag, it represents the birth of America.”

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