The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta conducted a Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, October 11, 2013. The Honorable Judge Steve C. Jones presided. JROTC Color Guard of Langston Hughes High School in Fairburn, GA performed the Presentation of Colors. Soloist Sharon Lane delivered the National Anthem. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ghose presented motions of 160 petitioners seeking to establish U.S. Citizenship. Courtroom Deputy Clerk Pamela Wright administered the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Judge Jones executed his order granting them their citizenship and then led them in their first Pledge of Allegiance.
Having already relinquished their green cards, this ceremony marked their official transition from immigrant status to U.S. Citizenship. Representing 60 foreign nations on five continents, they hailed from as close as Mexico to as far away as Vietnam. The Guest Speaker was Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, President Emeritus of the University of West Georgia. Using the Hokey Pokey song as an analogy, he explained that citizenship is a participatory sport, not a spectator sport. He quoted a poem by Indian author and Nobel Prize Winner Rabindranath Tagore:
Where The Mind Is Without Fear
the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Three other distinguished guests extended their welcomes and words of encouragement: Paul Prescott of Duluth, President of the Piedmont Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, and two Daughters of the American Revolution, Lydia McGill of Snellville, First Vice Regent of the Philadelphia Winn Chapter, and Leslie Watkins of Duluth, Regent of the William Day Chapter.
After a stirring rendition of God Bless America, court proceedings were adjourned. The Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution further welcomed our new citizens with refreshments, flags, and flag pins. The National League of Women Voters was also on hand to get the new citizens registered to Vote.