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Sworn on the 4th of July
Independence Day Brings Citizenship to 50 at the World War II Museum
For many festive Americans, Independence Day means patriotic bandanas, backyard barbeques, and recreational explosives. However, for a handful of New Orleanians, July 4 will take on a very personal meaning as their first day as United States citizens.
Well before the fireworks sound off, more than 50 people that have toiled through paperwork, language barriers, and financial struggles will finally reap the rewards of their labor at the National World War II Museum’s Naturalization Ceremony.
Assistant Visitor Services Manager Janet Mauer told NoDef a little bit more about this very special tradition, which is now in its fourth year. Mauer said that oftentimes, this event marks the end of a long battle to gain the freedoms that so many Americans take for granted.
“A lot of these people have been working for years to be citizens. For some of them, the language barriers have been a big issue. They’ve really struggled with legal paperwork and gone through so many channels. It’s a long, drawn out process to become a citizen,” Mauer said.
In addition to living in the United States and holding a green card for five years, residents must be able to read, write and speak English and have "knowledge and an understanding of the U.S. civics (aka pass the infamous citizenship test). They must also be deemed a person of "good moral character," and attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States."
In terms of the actual ceremony, Mauer says that there will be different speakers from various facets of life in New Orleans who will speak to what this country means to them. Afterwards, the ceremony’s leader will announce the names of everyone being naturalized that day. When their names are called, each person will go receive a handshake from organizer Stan Crockett.
Following their official induction into the US, the newly naturalized will sing, “I’m Proud to be an American,” and Mauer says that audience members are strongly encouraged to participate during this portion of the ceremony.
“While they’re singing, everyone in the audience is presented with a small American flag to wave along. We have a Color Guard also," she said. "It’s quite a solemn ceremony but at the same time, it’s a very happy one as well.”
Those on stage will celebrate their new citizenship with a video depicting various scene of American landscape. Mauer says there will be, “oceans, mountains, and all of the things we hold dear,” in the short movie. After three years of seeing people become Americans on the most patriotic day of the year, Mauer is proud to work for the National World War II Museum.
“We thoroughly enjoy being the host for this every year. It’s very patriotic.” she said.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Michael Weber, B.A.
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B. E. Mintz
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