American national James S Ericsson III, was so inspired by the teaching of Sikh gurus that he chose to embrace Sikhism and got converted into Sikh. In an interview with the Times of India, Ericsson III shared his views upon what is to be a Sikh means.
James Ericsson said that he did not get convert to Sikh but it is a ‘natural evolution’. What I learnt from Jesus is practiced in Sikhism, there is nothing in Christianity that I have missed.
When he was asked, “what is the Sikh way of life for him”. Ericsson replied, from not cutting hair to living a simple life and serving others, regardless of their religion or who they are. I have been learning the teachings of Sikh guru from at the of 21 when I became a Sikh. Now I am 67years old and my children and grandchildren are also Sikhs.
In a question about the post 9/11 incident, when Sikhs were the target of hate crime. Ericsson said “I was in New York to see a Sikh doctor when the incident took place, and I was struck there till 15 September and when I went back to my home”. I realized that this is my mission, to bring people together and in 2006 I became the first Sikh to wear a turban and work in Transportation Security Administration, which is an agency of the US department of homeland security which has authority over the security of the traveling public which gave me a chance to teach others about Sikhism.
“I also worked with a Sikh organization in Washington, trained FBI there, state police of Oregon and other TSA officers, so that they would respect Sikhs and understand why they wear a Kirpan before they ask Sikhs to remove their turbans.
I am a happy Sikh Ericsson said, if I was not a happy person then i would not be present here. I cannot speak fluent Punjabi but that does not make me less of a Sikh. A Sikh is one who understands the teachings of his guru.
Ericsson also added that he tries to be compassionate, always ready to serve and unafraid. This ‘bana’ a Sikh robe of Guru Gobind Singh teaches us not to be afraid as he always stands with us. This Turban is not mine, but the Guru’s he said.