A Special Naturalization Ceremony at DAR

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
June 9, 2016

It has been many years since we last hosted a Naturalization Ceremony at DAR Headquarters and I’m so pleased we were able to hold another meaningful service on May 31 when we welcomed 100 guests to the O’Bryne Gallery.  In my welcome remarks, I mentioned that DAR had been involved in helping new citizens since 1919 and encouraged them to view the Dunlap Broadside and drafts of the U.S. Constitution currently on display in the DAR Museum gallery, documents which they studied for their citizenship exam.

Sarah Taylor, Washington District Director, U.S. Custom and Immigration Service (USCIS), made opening remarks and asked everyone to stand for the entrance of the color guard from the Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard, Washington Military District. Kevin L. Bennear, Master Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, sang the National Anthem. Sarah Taylor then asked each of the 35 candidates to stand as she called the roll of countries. It was a very diverse group from 32 countries including one active duty member of the military and one veteran.

Remarks were made by Michael Valverde, Field Operations Directorate’s Deputy Associate Director, followed by the oath of citizenship.

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 and laws 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 the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

The newest citizens were so excited to be addressed as “My fellow citizens” and were eagerly waving their flags. Gregory Diephouse, Deputy Administrator for Field Operations, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, gave the keynote address, reflecting on what citizenship meant to his wife who immigrated from Vietnam as a child.

Laura London, DAR Member and her daughter, Charlotte, lead the Pledge of Allegiance and then each new citizen was presented their certificate of citizenship as we shook their hands and congratulated them. 

Each member of the military who was currently serving and anyone with an immediate family member currently serving were invited to stand as we applauded during the Military song medley.  Seven spouses of active duty military were among our new citizens.

Invited to a reception on the South Portico, hosted by our Property Beautification and Hospitality Committee members, many lingered and asked for photographs with us.  It was a wonderful celebration.  Chapters throughout the country volunteer at Naturalization ceremonies and it was marvelous to see our building used just as the Founders had envisoned – as a place to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism.

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