Morten Anderson: Becoming an American citizen was "huge, huge honor and a huge privilege"

Who dat?  He is:

  • NFL 1980s 2× Golden Toe Award (1986, 1995)
  • 7× Pro Bowl (1985–1988, 1990, 1992, 1995)
  • 5× First-team All-Pro (1985–1987, 1992, 1995)
  • Second-team All-Pro (1988)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • New Orleans Saints Ring of Honor
  • New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame
  • All-time Saints leading scorer with 1,318 points
  • All-time leading scorer in Pro Bowl with 45 points
  • Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame 
  • Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame 
  • 1 of only 2 kickers in the NFL Hallf of Fame
  • American citizen

That is Morten Andersen, the Great Dane, who is now the Great American.  After officially becoming an American citizen over the weekend, Andersen shared his experiences with us. 

"I’ve been in the country for 42 years, and I’ve always wanted to become a U.S. citizen," he said.  Due to Danish laws, Andersen would have had to give up his Danish citizenship in order to become an American citizen; but that has since changed.  After the law change, Andersen started the process.

One might think that such a high profile person would have an easier time or possibly get some help to make the process less difficult, but Andersen was having none of that.  "I wanted to go through it just bare-bones, like anybody else.  Like any other immigrant who wants to come in here legally, I wanted to go through the process and see what the process was like," Andersen explained.  "I didn’t want any preferential treatment."

Honored to become a citizen of the greatest country on earth today, very proud to be an American.

— Morten Andersen (@GreatDane2544) July 26, 2019

Part of the process involves learning the answers to 100 questions about the United States.  To pass, you are asked ten questions at random during your interview; and you're given two chances to get six out of ten.  If not, it’s over.  No stranger to pressure, Morten nailed the first six. 

He thinks that our American citizenship is something we may sometimes take for granted.

"I remember getting emotional in that ceremony,” he confessed.  "I think if you’re born in this country…sometimes we might take it for granted if you’re born here.  It is a big deal to become a U.S. citizen."

I think he’s right.  I also think we sometimes don’t realize how valuable that citizenship is.  The real jaw-dropping moment for me, however, came near the end of our conversation.

"I would say a top three experience in my life besides getting and seeing my kids born,” Andersen said.  “It’s a huge, huge honor and a huge privilege to now be considered a U.S. citizen with all the rights we have as U.S. citizens."

Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to realize how blessed you are and how much you’ve been given. I AM proud to be an American.