On Saturday, September 7, Norman Rockwell Museum hosted its second United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony, held against the backdrop of Norman Rockwell’s iconic artwork. Presented once again in partnership with the Berkshire Immigrant Center, the ceremony welcomed 26 new American citizens, residing in the Berkshires and other nearby Massachusetts cities and towns. Honored guests and speakers included The Honorable Fredric D. Rutberg, who presided over the proceedings for a second year in a row; Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director/CEO Norman Rockwell Museum; Luis Chaves, Field Office Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Lawrence Field Office; Hilary Greene, Director, Berkshire Immigrant Center; and Ellen Kennedy, President, Berkshire Community College.
“I thought it was a beautiful and moving experience for all who were present, hopefully more so for those who tood the Oath of Allegiance,” notes Berkshire District Court Judge Rutberg, who was also sworn in as a judge at the Museum back in 1994. “Thanks to everyone at USCIS, Berkshire Immigrant Center and the Norman Rockwell Museum for making this event so special, and thanks again for letting me have the opportunity to administer the Oath. I was truly humbled by the experience.”
“The ceremony stirs me deeply, and is clearly a meaningful life event for the new citizens,” states Ms. Norton Moffatt. “We are honored to host the event as it ties in so beautifully with the messaging in Norman Rockwell’s artwork and it is a wonderful way to connect with the newest members of our community.”
The new citizens originated from the following 19 countries: Australia, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Ghana, Honduras, India, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealnand, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland and Portugal.
Also taking part in the ceremony were Massachusetts State Representatives William “Smitty” Pignatelli, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Gailanne Cariddi, Paul W. Mark; William Bateman, Chief Court Officer; Dan Johnson, aide to Congressman Richard Neal; the Color Guard of Dalton, Massachusetts; and Berkshire Immigrant Center’s Program Manager Brooke Mead, who welcomed the new citizens with a rendition of “America the Beautiful” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Pianist Peter Breykin and singer Marie McMarrow entertained guests during a post-ceremony reception.
Other members of the Berkshire community who provided support for the event included Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Community College, and Lee Bank; Blue Q, Classical Tents and Party Goods, Daughters of the American Revolution, Marketplace Catering, Old Inn at The Southfield Store, Monterey General Store, Barrington Bagels, SoMa Catering, and Katherine Lockeridge are also assisting with the welcoming reception for the new citizens and their families.
Norman Rockwell Museum plans to host its next naturalization ceremony in 2014.