What is citizenship?

   The Man Without a Country, by Edward Everett Hale, is the story of a man accused of treason. At his trial he said that he hoped he would never hear the name of his country again. The judge gave him his wish. For 55 years he was not allowed to set foot in his country or hear any news of it. He was not a citizen of any country. As he was dying, homesick and friendless, he begged to be taken back to his native land.
   Most of us do not realize how important it is to be a citizen of a country. Every country helps its citizens in many ways. Back in the days of ancient Rome, a Roman's proudest boast was, "I am a Roman citizen." A country helps and protects its citizens even when they are in other lands.
   Different countries have different ways of deciding who is a citizen. Being born in a country may make a person a citizen of that country. Having parents who are both citizens of the same country may make a child a citizen of that country no matter where he is born. Many citizens of the United States are naturalized citizens. They are immigrants who came from other countries and decided that they wished to become American citizens. The laws of the United States tell the steps a person must take to become naturalized.
   Being a citizen of a country does not mean merely getting protection and help from its government. It also means that the citizen has duties to his country. He owes it to his country to obey its laws and to pay the taxes asked of him. He owes it to his country to fight for it if he is called on to do so.
   If his country is a democracy, a citizen should take part in its government. He should try to find out what his country's problems are. He should show what he thinks should be done by voting for those who stand for what he believes. He should do his share in helping to make his country one of which all its citizens can be proud.