What becoming a citizen means to me

I sent the following letter to The Record yesterday about a July 4th swearing in of new citizens.

Regarding “Sworn on the Fourth of July” (Page L-1, July 5):

The naturalization ceremony at Liberty State Park (a very apropos named venue) where a group of 21 individuals from many countries became U.S. citizens reminds me of the time I raised my right hand in lower Manhattan 57 years ago to pledge allegiance to my new country and uphold the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

Twice in the past decade I have spoken to newly naturalized citizens in Newark and at Ramapo College; the latter took place on Constitution Day, September 17. My remarks were quite simple. I said naturalized obligations have a special responsibility to our newly adopted unlike native-born Americans; we take an oath to uphold the Constitution, just like elected officials from the President of the United States to local officials.

We thus should make sure that our elected officials uphold their oath of office. Since June 25, 1959 when I raised my right hand before a judge in Lower Manhattan, I can say without equivocating that I have passionately defended the U.S. Constitution. I cannot say the same for presidents, members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices and others who have taken the oath to defend individual liberty, the core of the American experiment in self-government.

Since 1959 undeclared wars, trampling on individual rights, among other unconstitutional acts by politicians from both major political parties, shows clearly that our elected officials and justices have paid lip service to their oath of office.

 

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