97-year-old woman to cast first vote

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, 97-year-old Chengyi Pan, an immigrant hailing from Tianjin, China, poses for a photo in Winona, Minn. Pan, a retired physics teacher and middle school vice-principal, came to the United States in 2009 after the death of her husband and was granted citizenship in September. She will vote for the first time in November's election. (AP Photo/The Winona Daily News, Jacob Hilsabeck)

Chengyi Pan, 97, has a big day planned next week. She’ll vote.

“If I become a citizen of the U.S., I want to be a good citizen and to follow the democratic way,” Pan tells the Winona Daily News. The immigrant from Taiwan became a citizen last month.

“Because the U.S. is the best country in the world, if I become a member of this country I want to do all I can to continue to help this country,” she said.

During World War II, she remembers American pilots dropping from planes boxes of supplies — like toothpaste and chocolate — into her village.

An American woman, whose name the family still doesn’t know, paid for her older sister through a church program, and even sent clothes for her to wear.

Pan attended a top Chinese university in the 1940s, where she studied physics. Many of her teachers were trained in America and Europe, and learned a lot about the U.S.

“Many Americans have been friends of Chinese people for a long time,” she explained.

After her move, she applied for citizenship as soon as she was able, and became official after taking her oath of citizenship during a Sept. 30 ceremony.

Now, she’s counting down the days to Nov. 4.

Ni is working to help get her all the facts she needs to make informed decisions on Election Day, though Pan knows which way she’s leaning.

(h/t: Bob Moffitt)