"Liberty is a blessing, and a blessing that must be constantly nurtured. A true American lives those ideals and carries out their duties and obligations of citizenship." — Judge Stephen Bough
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11, 2016
Nineteen immigrants — from 19 different countries — gathered together at the Truman Courthouse in Independence Thursday afternoon. They sat before the judge's bench inside the famous Brady Courtroom, a fittingly historic setting for what would be for these men and women a history-making day.
The day they all became Americans.
Just moments before they took their Oath of Allegiance to the United States, Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. congratulated the soon-to-be new U.S. citizens. He realizes for many of them the journey to citizenship may have been decades in the making.
"Every new citizen has something of value to contribute to our community, and I'm honored to participate in this memorable ceremony," White said.
100 Percent American
Isabel Bateman moved to the U.S. from Columbia nine years ago. After taking her oath and receiving her naturalization certificate, she declared, "Today, I feel 100 percent American."
Federal judge Stephen Bough oversaw Thursday's ceremony. He, like County Executive White and David Douglas, District 15 Director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, urged the 19 new citizens to exercise their right to vote and be active participates in their communities.
"Liberty is a blessing, and a blessing that must be constantly nurtured," Judge Bough said. "A true American lives those ideals and carries out their duties and obligations of citizenship."
Special Series Of Ceremonies
This special naturalization ceremony was the third in a series of 13 being held across the nation to commemorate the 19th Century pioneers, many of them immigrants, who settled in the American west. The courthouse on Independence Square was the departure point for wagon trails setting out onto the Oregon, California and Santa Fe trails — a fact commemorated earlier this with the unveiling of a historic marker.
Judge Stephen Bough hands out the naturalization certificates.
Frank White, Jr. welcomes the naturalized citizens to the community.
The 19 men and women who became naturalized citizens during Thursday's ceremony came from 19 different countries:
3. Dominican Republic
6. Sierra Leone