I pledge allegiance to the flag. Authored by Francis Bellamy in 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited by schoolchildren in October of that year following a proclamation by President Benjamin Harrison. The Pledge has undergone four revisions since that time, and in 1923, the original “my Flag” was changed to “the Flag of the United States” for the benefit of new immigrants.
In 2010, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana will conduct 36 naturalization ceremonies. IBA members have agreed to represent the Bar in these ceremonies, providing words of welcome and presenting each new citizen with a book on the Constitution and a voter registration card for use in exercising their new right to vote. That the experience is moving is evident from the remarks of IBA members who have participated on behalf of the Bar.
Of the United States of America. People come from near and far to become citizens of our great nation; from young adults full of hope for things to come to the weathered immigrants who have waited a lifetime to call America their home.
It was interesting how the ceremony had the effect of renewing my own pride of being a U.S. citizen. One of the oldest people being sworn in yelled out ‘YES!’ as he was receiving his certificate. Joshua Casselman, Rubin & Levin, P.C.
I enjoyed [the ceremony] very much. There was a 60-something woman from the Ukraine who was brimming with pride. Her photo with the judge was a family affair. Peyton L. Berg, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP
And to the republic for which it stands. That there is no greater body for “the people” can be seen in the eyes of those taking the oath of allegiance.
The huge smiles on the faces of the new citizens should be a reminder to those of us who may take our citizenship for granted just what a coveted and precious right it is. We who, just by the luck of birth, happen to be citizens without any effort on our own part, would do well to recognize the enormous effort and determination it takes for someone to become a United States citizen by choice. It should make us humble and ever more appreciative of our privileges and responsibilities as citizens. That was certainly the experience I had after participating in the naturalization ceremonies. Cynthia M. Locke, Stewart & Irwin, P.C.
One nation, under God, indivisible. In the final revision to our Pledge, and based on Lincoln’s use of the phrase in the Gettysburg Address, the words “under God” were added on Flag Day in 1954. That we are a nation of one, indivisible, is confirmed by these ceremonies.
Judge McKinney noted for the newly admitted citizens that the US constitution says “We the people….” not “I the person….”. I found that to be a very astute observation. There were new citizens there from Haiti, Vietnam, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, England, Iran, Nepal, Venezuela and many others. It was a great day to be a representative of the legal profession and the IBA. Lori A. Torres, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Labor
With liberty and justice for all.
In 30 years of litigating in federal court, it’s the only time I’ve ever seen a member of the federal judiciary smiling while sitting on the bench for an hourlong proceeding! One minute the judge was offering to swap robes with a Tibetan monk who was becoming a new American citizen, and the next he was reciting lyrics from an old Willie Nelson song.
The ceremony is quite moving – if it doesn’t put a lump in your throat, you don’t have a heartbeat. As a fourth generation Hoosier and American, I couldn’t help but imagine what it might have been like when my great grandparents raised their right hands to take the oath of citizenship in a thick German accent back in the late 1800s. The racial, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity of those new citizens was rivaled only by the variety of facial expressions as I shook the hand of each in congratulations. When I walked out that ceremony, I felt extremely proud to be an American and a lawyer. David J. Theising Harrison & Moberly, LLP
Thank you to all of the IBA members who represent our profession and our Bar at these ceremonies. I wish you all a happy, safe, and thoughtful Independence Day.•