- 2014 - April - 28th -

Judge to new citizens: ‘Make an incredible life’ in the U.S.

  • Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger and the Bishop Kenny High School Navy JROTC color guard.

  • From left, Election Assistants Brenda Byles, William France and Linda Hinson from the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office were ready to help the new citizens register to vote.

  • New American citizen Dongjin Ham and attorney Vanessa Zamora Newtson, who presented Ham an American flag in recognition of his being the oldest person who was naturalized Thursday. Ham, a former citizen of South Korea, celebrated his 78th birthday on April 19.

By Max Marbut, Staff Writer

They exchanged their Green Cards for the red, white and blue.

That was the action taken Thursday by 46 people from 25 countries who raised their right hands, swore a solemn oath and then became some of America’s newest citizens.

Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger presided over their naturalization ceremony at the Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse.

He explained that the ceremony was part of The Jacksonville Bar Association’s Law Day 2014 observance. May 1 was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1961 as Law Day U.S.A.

Schlesinger quoted from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Law Day proclamation and explained to the candidates and guests in the courtroom that Law Day “reminds us we live every day under the rule of law.”

Part of the oath administered to the candidates by Schlesinger involved renouncing their citizenship by birth in favor of being Americans.

“You entered this courtroom as a subject or citizen of some other sovereign nation; you leave here today bearing the noble title ‘Citizen of the United States of America,’” said Schlesinger.

Tracie Davis, deputy supervisor in the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office, urged the new citizens to take advantage of their status.

“Citizens have the responsibility to stay informed. Be active in your community and recognize that through diversity comes strength. Become an active participant in democracy and exercise your right to vote,” Davis said. “You all came to this country in search of a better life and, fellow citizens, you can have it. Make an incredible life in the greatest nation on Earth.”


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