Proud American

Jane Seymour: Why I became an American

British-born Jane Seymour became a United States citizen more than a decade ago.

And the former "Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman" star told Fox News about her love for her adopted country.

"I've been living in the United States since 1976 so I've actually lived here longer than I have in England and my family [members] are all -- except for one of them -- they were all born here and America has been my home for such a long time that I felt it was important to vote and to participate," she said.

Seymour took the oath of citizenship in Los Angeles in Feb. 2005, and she said the test was difficult.

"It was daunting and very amazing. Learning all the material was quite hard," she said. "I was in awe of the fact that for people for whom English isn't their first language have to learn all this material and remember it. It was quite a tough test, and I remember at the time I was married to [actor] James Keach, who prided himself on knowing the Constitution backwards and forwards and I tested him on some of the questions and even he didn't know some of the answers so I said, "You, see? It's not easy.'"

But Seymour, whose long and diverse acting career has included being a Bond girl and appearing in the movies "Somewhere In Time" and "The Wedding Crashers," was thrilled to meet the requirements.

"I had a very lovely experience doing the test but the very moving moment was to be at that very huge hall in Los Angeles where so many people became citizens at the same time. It was really amazing," she said.

"I think one of the things I never really appreciated was the military, how many people fight for our country without being citizens and then, after a certain amount of time, have the privilege of becoming citizens.

"I got emotional because I just looked around and just saw so many people that had gone through so much to be able to become citizens. My story is obviously nowhere near as tough as some of the other people."

Seymour particularly appreciates America because her Dutch-born mother Mieke Frankenberg was in a prison camp, held by the Japanese in Indonesia during World War II for three-and-a-half years.

"They tortured them, starved them. I am the child of a survivor," Seymour said. "People who survive don't like to talk about what they went through but…she decided to accept what happened. She forgave the Japanese and she moved forward."

The actress decided to take her late mother's open heart philosophy and become an entrepreneur in the United States. Seymour is now busy with her Open Hearts line of jewelry, fragrances, and other products and Open Hearts Foundation charity which recognizes those who serve others.

Seymour noted that she cherishes America's business-friendly attitude.

"When you want to try something new and different in the United States, I think that [people] are more open minded to the fact that you might have an idea that's different and new," she noted.

"I think sometimes when you come from a part of the world that has been there many hundreds of years before, that people don't take risks the same way. I think it's easier to be entrepreneurial in America than in Europe where the tendency is to say, 'Oh, we don't do that, you can't do that.' You say why not and they say, 'because it hasn't been done before.' Whereas, in America, if you try something different, they go, 'Oh, well, you may not succeed, but, hey, go for it. Why not try?' And then if you try and you succeed, people are actually quite excited by it [and say], 'Oh, you did that! That's something different. Cool!'"

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