Rachel Naftel is a senior in the College of Liberal Arts, majoring in political science and French.
Last November, Dean Gramberg mentioned to me that she was studying for the naturalization test to become a US citizen. If she passed the test, there would be a citizenship ceremony at the Federal Court House in Montgomery. Good news! She passed the test and the citizenship ceremony was held on Tuesday, February 1st.
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the ceremony. There were nine candidates for naturalization from eight different countries. Before the ceremony, the candidates had to fill out several forms and present their photo ids. They were presented with a folder that contained all of their paperwork, along with a small American flag.
Once the official ceremony started, we all stood as the judge entered. The Honorable Myron Thompson commented on how the ceremony was a special affair for the court with only positive outcomes, since courts are mostly used for not so happy occasions. He spoke about how the day’s affair was both extraordinary and also commonplace, and he emphasized the importance of citizenship.
After the judge’s speech, the candidates, including Dean Gramberg, pledged an oath of citizenship. This oath was the final step in the process of becoming a citizen. The words in the oath were very strong. The oath stressed the importance of renouncing one’s former country and pledging allegiance to the United States. I imagine renouncing one’s home country would be a hard statement to make, and therefore I have a newfound respect for immigrants who go through this process.
The ceremony concluded with the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem, led by the Baldwin Arts & Academics Magnet School’s concert choir. I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to attend the ceremony. I would recommend to anyone, if ever given a chance to attend a citizenship ceremony, do so.