This morning saw the first naturalization ceremony in the Marshall courthouse in quite some time. Judge Gilstrap conducted one in Tyler a couple of months back, but it’s not often they make it all the way to Marshall. It was standing room only, with a monitor and chairs in the hallway for the visiting schoolchildren and overflow guests, with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter that helps put the event on at counsel table. The Marshall High School Junior ROTC provided the color guard, and ETBU provided a choral group for the national anthem and “America the Beautiful”. As my old trombone choir professor used to say, there wasn’t a dry seat in the house. Or maybe that was just me. Anyway, for an outfit without trombones they were pretty good.
Judge Gilstrap spoke on the obligations and privileges of citizenship, and shook hands with the new citizens (from thirteen countries) after they received their certificates from the DHS representatives, and an American flag from the DAR. The local bar association provided lunch for the new citizens and their families at Miguel’s across the square, and the Harrison County Elections Office had a table for new citizens to register to vote.
Naturalizations locally are decidedly celebratory events with a great deal of participation by the community. It was a good day to be an American and welcome our fellow citizens.