About 50 residents were officially given their U.S. citizenship on Tuesday. The Naturalization Oath Ceremony, held at the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Main Library auditorium, awarded citizenship to people from India, South Korea, Burma, Canada, Hungary, Belarus, China, Lebanon, France, Peru, Mexico and Cameroon, among a few dozen other countries.
The International Institute of Akron (IIA), the event host, was on hand to celebrate the naturalization of these citizens. Elaine Woloshyn, executive director of the agency, served as the event moderator, which was fitting considering all the work the IIA has done to help prepare these and other new citizens. The International Institute has helped immigrants and refugees for almost 100 years. Akron has a wealth of agencies to help these residents, including Asian Services in Action (ASIA Inc.)
Also on hand at the ceremony was Boy Scout troop 154 from pack 3015. The boys looked happy to present the national colors and to lead the gathered crowd in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. The Derbytown Barbershop Chorus quartet performed the National Anthem followed by a very apt rendition of “So Many Voices. So many voices sing Americas song, so many dreamers come from different shores to proudly sing along. To rise their voices in a country that’s free, to blend their music with Americans from sea to shining sea.”
When Judge John R. Adams, from the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, rose to address those 48 men and women, the room grew quiet. He asked those participating in the ceremony to stand and to raise their hands. The men and women who hailed from from 30 different countries stood at attention with their hands raised, palms facing forward. Adams spoke the words of the Oath of Allegiance and they repeated his words, each with their own accent and inflection.
Some spoke solemnly, but many of them made the oath with a smile on their lips. As the names of each new citizen was called out, Judge Adams extended his hand to each of them, congratulating them and passing on to them their citizenship certificates.
Derbytown Barbershop Chorus closed the ceremony with the song “God Bless America.” By the time they reached midpoint, most in the room were singing along. Afterwards most of the people assembled there adjourned to the lobby. Members from the League of Women Voters invited the newly minted citizens to register to vote. Many eagerly took up the offer and put pen to paper before celebrating with cake and punch in room 2AB.
India, South Korea, Burma, Canada, Bhutan, Hungary, Belarus, Philippines, Laos, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel, Estonia, Croatia, Egypt, Australia, Colombia, People’s Republic of China, Lebanon, France, Peru, Kazakhstan, Albania, United Kingdom, Jordan, Russia, Gabon, Mexico, and Cameroon lost a few men and women, and we gained 48 new loyal citizens.
Oath of Allegiance
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution 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 law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by law; that I will perform work or national importance under civilian direction when required by law; and that I will take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, so help me God.