NYSBA Celebrates Constitution Day by Honoring New Americans
New York State Bar Association President Richard Lewis addressed 29 new Americans with roots in 19 countries at a naturalization ceremony marking Constitution Day. For the new citizens, it is the culmination of years of waiting, and studying, to become U.S. citizens.
Dutchess County Family Court and Acting Supreme Court Judge Joseph Egitto presiding over the ceremony and Dutchess County Clerk Brad Kendall administered the oath of allegiance. New citizens pledge to support and defend the Constitution and give up their allegiance to foreign nations.
The ceremony took place at the Dutchess County Office Building in Poughkeepsie. Each new American will receive a pocket U.S. Constitution as a gift from the New York State Bar Association.
“It is a privilege to address these new Americans who have come from lands near and far to join the fabric of America,” Lewis said. ‘E pluribus unum – out of many, one’ – is our motto and being part of a naturalization ceremony marking Constitution Day is indeed special. As you listen to new citizens recite the oath, you can tell how much it means to them to become an American.”
The United States celebrates Constitution Day each year on Sept. 17, the day it was signed in 1787. The entire week is known as Constitution Week, and people celebrate with naturalization ceremonies across the country in government buildings, courthouses, national parks and historic locations.
The 2023 Constitution Day theme is “Reflection, Choice, and Self-Government.” The observance of Constitution and Citizenship Day began in 1940 as “I Am an American Day.” President Truman renamed it Citizenship Day in 1952. Three years later, President Eisenhower expanded the observance and proclaimed it Constitution Week.
Do you have what it takes? Test your knowledge by taking a practice civics test that is offered to those studying to become naturalized citizens.