Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrated four decades of American citizenship this weekend. In a post on Instagram the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician commemorated the anniversary of “one of the proudest days of my life” with a series of photographs set to his speech from the 2004 Republican National Convention.
“My fellow Americans, this an amazing moment for me,” the speech begins. “To think that a once-scrawny boy from Austria could grow up to become governor of the state of California, that is an immigrant’s dream. In school when the teacher would talk about America, I would daydream about coming here. I would daydream about living here. As long as I live, I will never forget the day when I raised my right hand and I took the oath of citizenship. You know how proud I was? I was so proud that I walked around with the American flag around my shoulders all day long.”
“I arrived here with empty pockets, but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire,” the former governor of California said as photos of his youth in Austria, his arrival in America, taking the oath of U.S. citizenship in 1983 and highlights from a long, diverse career played in the background.
“Everything about America seemed so big to me, so open, so possible,’ he continued. “To my fellow immigrants listening tonight, I want you to know how welcomed you are. We encourage your dreams. We believe in your future.”
Schwarzenegger recently opened up about nearly dying after open-heart surgery. In a video shared on YouTube, Schwarzenegger said the operation took place several years ago, just before he started working on Terminator: Dark Fate (released in 2019). Schwarzenegger remembered waking up after the procedure and seeing his doctor, who told him the operation had not gone as planned. The actor said the procedure was supposed to be a relatively non-invasive one to replace a heart valve, but his doctors “made a mistake and poked through the heart wall.” That puncture caused serious “internal bleeding,” forcing Schwarzenegger’s doctors to open him up quickly to save his life.
“I wanted to get really going with the exercise and get out of the hospital as quickly as possible, and then get going with the training again because three months later, I started with Terminator 6,” Schwarzenegger said. “I had to be in shape, I had to be able to move around, run around, lift things up, do the fight scenes. So we did it, because I had a positive attitude, I knew exactly how I was gonna get there, and I had the support system. Because none of this we can do by ourselves.”
The 76-year-old shows no signs of slowing down. Earlier this year, Schwarzenegger starred in the action-comedy series FUBAR, which has been renewed for a second season.