Ruins of the Franciscan church at Mission San José de Tumacácori NPS Photo by Ed Wittenberg
Do you know what is special about September 17? Not only is it Constitution Day, which celebrates our Constitution signing but also the day that Tumacacori National Historical Park has it’s naturalization ceremony.
I found it out by attending a special ceremony at Tumacacori National Historic Park. If you’re wondering what the ceremony was, it was a ceremony where new citizens are sworn in. On the morning of Sept. 17, I was lucky to witness 16 people become new U.S. citizens representing 15 different countries including those as near as Canada and Mexico and as far away as Australia and Russia.
The ceremony was held in front of the historic Tumacacori Mission Church and the outdoor setting was declared a federal courtroom presided over by Honorable Judge James A. Soto. I felt honored to witness the new citizens raising their right hand and saying the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.
Following the oath, these new U.S. citizens recited the Pledge of Allegiance. How special it must of felt to say the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time as an American citizen. After the ceremony I helped serve cake and put little American flags on each slice.
They were just symbolic decorations to me, but to the 16 new citizens it was a treasured souvenir of the day they became a U.S. citizen. Every time I say the Pledge of Allegiance from now on, I will never forget that I witnessed someone say it for the first time as a brand new citizen of the United States.