U.S. District Judge John Gerrard presided over the ceremony which included reading a roll call of the names and home countries of each person who qualified to become a citizen. They were from nations including Mexico, Iraq, Vietnam and Guatemala.
Judge Gerrard told the group that being new citizens gives them the opportunity to succeed and enjoy liberty.
“There is no single American way to think or believe,” Gerrard says. “Indeed, conformity of thought and belief would be contrary to the underlying principles of this great nation.”
Gerrard encouraged those taking the oath to spread the knowledge that they’ve gained to their children and to discuss the rights they’ve earned with their fellow citizens.
“This court and the courts of our nation are here to preserve and protect your rights as Americans to freely and openly think and believe as you wish,” Gerrard says. “There is no leader or political system that can squash those rights, not 200 years ago and not today.”
Judy Anderson sang patriotic music for the occasion, while Homestead National Monument of America Superintendent Mark Engler welcomed the new citizens, and messages of congratulations were given by staff members of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice