On Friday, March 16, I ventured over to the Federal Courthouse in Rome, Georgia to experience my first ever U.S. Naturalization Ceremony.
I was there with several ladies from the Rome Floyd League of Women Voters who were assisting our new citizens with registering to vote. I hadn't stepped foot in this building since the post office moved out Martha Berry over ten years ago. And when I did frequent this establishment, it was just to (hope to be able to) park and run in on a post office errand. Luckily, I never had a need for the Federal Courthouse area!
After not having seen the architecture up close and personal for so long, I was really struck by the funky 1970s (?) features! Additionally, the entire place had a slightly eerie air of abandonment.
The old post office doors were locked up tight, so I was forced to go seeking another entrance, the one that would lead to the courthouse on the 3rd floor.
Finally, inside and past security. Up to the courtroom!
Where 50 people from 31 countries were waiting patiently, filling out the final forms, and chatting with family. All the seats began to fill around 10:30, with the ceremony beginning at 11:00, Judge Harold Murphy presiding.
Roll call, where each person stood up to announce name and country of origin.
Taking the oath of citizenship.
And then, on the way out, a new vista of a familiar hill.