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WJBD - Local News - 57 Become U.S. Citizens At Rend Lake College Ceremony

Judge Kenneth J. Meyers addresses the candidates for naturalization at the ceremony Friday at Rend Lake College. There were 57 candidates from 29 countries who became U.S. citizens. (Photo by Nathan Wheeler / RLC Public Information)

The Honorable Kenneth J. Meyers shakes the hand of one of America's newest citizens, Gretchen Jara Seck of Murphysboro. (Photo by Nathan Wheeler / RLC Public Information)

57 Become U.S. Citizens At Rend Lake College Ceremony

By Nathan Wheeler, Rend Lake College

'God bless America.'  These three words resounded in the Rend Lake College Theatre in Ina Friday morning when the Honorable Kenneth J. Meyers led 57 candidates from 29 countries in the oath to become naturalized citizens of the U.S. 

Following Benton resident Sara Barnett’s performance of the “Star Spangled Banner,” Assistant U.S. Attorney George Norwood presented the candidates for naturalization and Meyers administered the oath. 

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion: So help me God.”

Adeleke Babafemi Adewole became a U.S. citizen alongside his wife, Adenike Comfort Adewole. They live in Belleville. He is a nurse. He was asked about renouncing his allegiance to Nigeria to become a U.S. citizen.

“I used to tell people I was supposed to be born in America. That I was mistakenly born in Nigeria. This is my home and I’m glad to be here today. ...This is like a dream come true. I really thank the good people of the United States of America for this golden opportunity. ... I’m finally an American citizen.”

“I’m so happy today,” Adenike said. “... I give glory to the almighty God for making this possible. ... I pray that God will continue to bless America.”

Meyers spoke about his granddaughter, who became a naturalized citizen after his family brought her to the U.S. from South Korea when she was an infant. She now lives in Kentucky.

“It’s emotional for me to listen to these people and how happy they are to be citizens of this country,” Meyers said. “They worked hard for what we take for granted. It’s taken them years.”   He said he hopes they will contribute their talents to this country and make it a better place to live.

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