Friday, February 03, 2006

The Day

Interesting experience. I went to a naturalization ceremony at the federal courthouse. 52 people, including a friend of mine, were sworn in as US citizens. They were from all over the world: Albania, Argentina, Bangala Desh, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Greece, Guatamala, India, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Laos, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Russia, St. Nevis, Somalia, South Korea, Sudan, Yugoslavia, United Kingdom. Very simple ceremony. The judge read a short speech, welcoming them all to the United States, encouraging them to vote and participate in our Democracy where they all now had equal rights and opportunities. Together they took an oath, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and then one at a time went up and got their naturalization certificates and shook hands with the judge. There were many smiles in the room. Outside the courtroom, they were given a small US Flag. It was pouring rain outside. A person driving might notice the flags in the hands of the people hurrying to their cars or to the bus stop.

I imagined the celebrations that went on afterwards, all the different kinds of foods being laid out on tables as family members and friends gathered to celebrate the day.