By Kevin Shannahan
Our Nation grew a bit stronger today. The United States of America welcomed 24 new citizens from 13 different countries in a naturalization ceremony held at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) on NSU’s campus this Thursday, Aug. 25. Natchitoches Central’s Army Junior ROTC presented the colors while the NSU Middle Lab Orchestra played the National Anthem.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Officers Stanley Crockett and Eureka Arties administered the Oath of Citizenship after having each new citizen stand as their country of birth was called out. The newest Americans hail from nations, ranging from Canada to Vietnam, India and everywhere in between.
The Lt. Governor of Louisiana, Billy Nungesser, gave the keynote address after which Rebecca Blankenbaker of the Cane River National Heritage Area led the Pledge of Allegiance as the crowd joined their fellow Americans in their first pledge as citizens.
These 24 men and women left behind allegiance to their former countries and made a solemn oath:
“…that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to take this opportunity to congratulate our 24 fellow Americans and wish them well. On this, the 240th year of the independence of the United States, ceremonies like this one in a small town in Louisiana show America is still a shining city on a hill. May it be ever thus.