« ÎnapoiContinuați »
CERTIFICATES OF CITIZENSHIP AND MEMENTOS
OF THE OCCASION
Some judges make the presentation of certificates of citizenship a part of the regular ceremonial. These judges believe that the
. awarding of certificates at this time carries much greater significance than the handing out of them by the clerk at a later date. Such presentation requires the cooperation of court officials, representatives of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and others. Photographs and signatures must be appended to the certificates and details completed just prior to the final ceremony.
Mementos, such as small American flags, copies of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or the Bill of Rights, or of the American's Creed, furnish a concrete symbol of the emotions experienced at the time of the assumption of citizenship. An attractive program, with the American flag decorating the front page and the names of the new citizens printed within, may be given to each one as a remembrance of the occasion of his admission as a citizen. In this connection, it should be pointed out that the souvenir need not be expensive, but it should be of sufficiently good quality that the new citizen will cherish it as a keepsake. A beautiful little flag, in keeping with the intrinsic worth of citizenship, makes a desired memento. Many place their first flag in the Bible or other sacred place, and take delight in showing it to visitors or friends. Therefore, care should be exercised that the flag is not of poor or cheap material.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service makes available to each newly naturalized citizen the pamphlet “A Welcome to U. S. A. Citizenship.” This publication is the Government's welcome to the new citizen and contains personal messages from the President of the United States, the Attorney General, and the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization. It is presented at the time of naturalization, preferably by the presiding judge. Some judges prefer to autograph these pamphlets before delivery in order to increase the personal touch and make more meaningful the welcome of the court at this time.
Generally, representatives of patriotic organizations not only provide, but present, the souvenirs to the new citizens; occasionally, the judge himself makes the presentation after proper acknowledgment has been made to the organization that furnished them. When the latter practice is followed it is in the belief that the memento is more highly prized if the judge presents it himself. Also a friendly handshake and a personal word of congratulation by the judge to each new citizen, as he starts on another stage of the journey of life, is most important.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The courts that make the pledge of allegiance a part of the court ceremonial vary as to the place at which they bring it into the program. Some make the pledge an effective part of the ceremony by placing it immediately after the taking of the oath, and by having both the old and the new citizens participate. The foreign born are thus no longer treated separately from the rest of the groupthey are Americans now. Sometimes one of the students from the many classes which are invited to, and usually do, attend these hearings is selected to lead the pledge of allegiance. On other occasions one of the new citizens is chosen to do so. It is a significant moment when the entire group is caught up in a common feeling, as the new citizens pledge, and the old renew, their allegiance to democratic ideals.
In some instances, the pledge of allegiance follows the address of the judge or his designated representative, and all present in the courtroom join in. A large percentage of the new citizens know the pledge of allegiance to the flag. In some ceremonies, particularly those held in larger auditoriums or stadiums, there is an exchange of fags of the various countries for the flag of the United States, after which the pledge of allegiance is repeated.
The United States flag has deep and noble significance to those who are already citizens. In some respects it may have even deeper significance to those who are just becoming citizens. To those who are already citizens, the flag symbolizes something which they now have; to those who are becoming citizens, it symbolizes something for which they hope but do not yet have-fellowship in the spirit of liberty and the glorious ideals of human freedom. A pledge of allegiance, therefore, to the flag that not only symbolizes but guarantees the sacred right of human freedom and the blessings of American citizenship may fittingly be given anywhere, in the courtroom or any other place.
CLOSING OF COURT
Most courts close in the usual manner. In some courts, however, the pledge of allegiance is followed by the national anthem or “America,” after which the retirement of colors takes place. All stand and give proper homage to the flag. This procedure produces an inspirational and appropriate atmosphere for the solemn closing of the court.
HE JOINT RESOLUTION, as stated earlier (p. 5), provides for
participation of civil and educational authorities and patriotic organizations in a continuous effort to dignify and emphasize the significance of citizenship. This naturally leads to the question, “What kind of civil and educational authorities and patriotic organizations are contemplated in the joint resolution?”
Numerous organizations, groups, and individuals have participated wholeheartedly in naturalization ceremonies throughout the country and have contributed immeasurably to the impressiveness of the occasions. Not all of these can be listed here. They have included, however, members of the judiciary and of bar associations; the Armed Forces of the United States; the American Legion and other veterans' organizations; the Daughters of the American Revolution; Colonial Dames of America; General Federation of Women's Clubs; National Council of Jewish Women; Boy Scouts of America; Elks; Kiwanis; Rotary; Lions; Civitan clubs; Chambers of Commerce; churches of all denominations; schools; social agencies; and labor organizations. Addresses are often given by members of the local Bar, faculty members of neighboring schools and colleges, or other prominent persons. Flags, pamphlets, and patriotic literature are generally presented by one of the local organizations and further interest is stimulated at many hearings by the presence of some of the teachers who have assisted in the citizenship classes. It may be safely said that many courts construe the resolution to include any, or all, of those mentioned as possible participants in the “effort to dignify and emphasize the significance of citizenship."
Needless to say, the same organization, or organizations, should not be drawn upon for every occasion. Many of those mentioned are not found in every community. Even if all were located in
any one community, there would be no necessity or expectation that all would participate upon all occasions. The extent to which each organization is utilized depends upon the type of ceremony planned and what it can sincerely and constructively contribute toward carrying the plan out. The judge, with his sense of propriety and dignity as well as his understanding of local situations, is in a position to exercise discrimination in deciding what organizations and which individuals can best help in making an induction ceremony effective.
The need for careful selection of the organizations and individuals who should participate gives force to the reasoning that the judge himself should usually be chairman of the committee to plan the program and that he should perhaps also be the master of ceremonies. If the leadership is assumed by the judge, he can enlist the assistance of different organizations from time to time and can select individuals who will make the program interesting and impressive. In this way a community movement is built up in which large numbers of people become acquainted with the new citizens and the naturalization ceremonies, rather than just particular organizations. An opportunity would thus be afforded for eliminating both the occasional ambitious and self-seeking individual and the petty rivalries among some organizations, which tend to disrupt and destroy the spirit of the occasion. Use should be made only of those organizations or individuals who are actively interested in citizenship activities.
If the judge is confident, however, of his selection of properly qualified people and is sure that no unwise or inappropriate action will be taken by those selected, then he may delegate responsibility for the ceremonial. This has been done in many courts with signal
A more or less permanent advisory committee composed of representatives of the Bench and Bar, civil and educational authorities, and representatives of patriotic or other organizations should be appointed to insure an effective ceremonial at each hearing and to integrate properly the courtroom ceremony into the long-time, larger citizenship program that precedes and follows this final step. If the judge himself cannot accept the chairman