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CARMEL – Forty-four of America’s newest citizens recited their oath of allegiance to the United States and received a rousing ovation at the historic Putnam Courthouse.
Wednesday’s naturalization ceremony, attended by family and friends of the new citizens, was the second of the year for Putnam County. Since 2015 following a 20 year hiatus, hundreds of newcomers have taken their oaths of allegiance thanks to the efforts of County Clerk Michael Bartolotti.
America’s newest citizens come from all corners of the earth including Albania, Honduras, El Salvador, South Africa, Brazil, India, Egypt, Nigeria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, India, Philippines, Jamaica, United Kingdom, Peru, Guatemala, Pakistan, Columbia and Mexico.
The hour-long ceremony was officiated over by State Supreme Court Justice Kristi Acker who called on the newest citizens to “be the best you can be. Enjoy life and always enjoy America.”
Acker told her audience “you now serve a common bond with others in this community. People like yourselves come to America to achieve a better life. Always do your best and remember the oath taken here today comes with an awesome privilege and awesome responsibility.”
Acker also requested a moment of silence for former Putnam County Judge James Reitz who passed away suddenly on June 14. “Judge Reitz was scheduled to officiate over today’s ceremony. We mourn his passing and his love for all residents of Putnam County. Personally, I miss my friend and colleague Judge Reitz.”
Assemblyman Kevin Byrne welcomed the new citizens as well. He called naturalization the “nicest and most pleasurable ceremony found in our county. In America, everyone is welcome and we respect all of you. It doesn’t matter where you came from. Immigration has made our country so wonderful. Thank you for going through the long process. It is important to remember our history and heritage. What matters now is what you do with your lives as American citizens.”
Bartolotti praised the 44 new citizens assembled before him in the packed historic Putnam Courthouse. “This day is for each of you. Our population has become more diversified in recent years. Many of us take our citizenship for granted. You have strived to become American citizens. Today is your day.”