Twenty-seven people from 20 countries became the United States’ newest citizens during a ceremony at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens on Tuesday.
“In my view, you have received one of the highest honors in the world, and that is American citizenship,” said Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin). He quoted from a speech Abraham Lincoln gave in Chicago in 1858. Lincoln said that although immigrants cannot trace blood connections to the founders of the United States, they can look to the words in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and “that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are.”
The 27 new citizens recited both the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance in the gardens at Oatlands before receiving certificates of citizenship.
They came from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Chile, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, and Turkey. To become citizens, they had to have a permanent resident or “green card” for at least five years; read, write, and speak English; be of good moral character; and pass the U.S. Naturalization Test and a personal interview, among other requirements and paperwork.
They are now entitled to all the rights and committed to all the responsibilities of a citizen of the United States of America.