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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Northampton County Welcomes 34 New Citizens

34 people fro 21 countries take the oath of allegiance to the United States
Thirty-four people from 21 different countries waited anxiously inside Northampton County's ceremonial courtroom on June 10. Though the Celtic harp music of Carol Thompson was soothing, some of them have had less than ideal relationships in their own countries of origin. But when Judge Emil Giordano walked into the courtroom, the first thing he did was call them "my fellow Americans."  Whether they were originally from Viet Nam or Russia, they are American citizens now. They were naturalized during a stirring ceremony that included a presentation of the colors by the American Legion, a terrific rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Wilson Borough vocalist Leah Kun, and even awards to grade school students who participated in a "My Favorite Place in America Contest."

Liberian native Betty Gaye waves a small American flag. 
When Liberian native Betty Tie Gaye was called the receive her papers, she stood bewildered. Then Judge Giordano took a few steps forward to welcome her into not just the well of the court, but into the giant melting pot known as America. He had good reason. He showed pictures of his father and grandfather, who came to this country from Italy in 1956, looking for a better life. "How brave these people were coming here and not knowing anyone, just like you."

Judge Giordano told these new citizens that his parents met while taking English classes. Though his father has passed away, he invited his mother to the ceremony and introduced his mother. He joked that Naturalization Court is the only time when everyone is happy after it's all over. He encouraged them to keep their cultural traditions. "We bring the best of each culture together," he said.

Rebecca Gelles, with the Daughters of the American Revolution, handed out flags and reminded them all to vote. "Voting is your absolute right and obligation as an American citizen," she said.

Easton Attorney Bill Murphy supported Father Deogratias Rwegasira's quest for citizenship. Originally from Tanzania, Fr. Deogratias is the Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Easton.

Bethlehem resident Marco Lu, who arrived from China 17 years ago, poses with wife Anna, daughter Katie and son Bryan.

New citizen Parmjut Kaur, who arrived from India 15 years ago, with her father, Duman. 

The tall and the small. Dionisia Arienda, who arrived from the Philippines eight years ago, poses with Judge Giordano.

Elizabeth Morales, from Our Lady of Perpetual Help, won an award from the Bar Association for a drawing of "My Favorite Place in America." St. Jane Frances de Chantal cleaned up with three awards to Joseph Karam, Alexandria Nehme and Caelan LaChance.


Anonymous said...

A hearty welcome to American citizenship! Any immigrant who comes in the FRONT DOOR, does it all the right way, is OK with me!

Fred Windish


DITTO!!!! They EARNED their place

c said...

Welcome! Thank you for working hard to obtain your citizenship!

Matt M. said...

Welcome fellow citizens!

Beverly Hernandez said...

The Northampton County League of Women Voters also provided refreshments and helped the new Citizens in the Voter registration process.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hi Bev, I am sorry I missed you in my report.