T.S. Ellis, a Senior United States District Judge, is an immigrant from in Bogota, Colombia. Almost 10 years ago, Judge Ellis moved his Alexandria, VA courtroom to Arlington National Cemetery to swear in immigrants from more than 30 countries as U.S. citizens. Jerry Markon reports in the Washington Post (June 2008):
As U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III began to speak yesterday, American flags fluttered in the breeze and military aircraft zoomed overhead . . . the first time a naturalization ceremony was held on the hallowed grounds in the cemetery’s 144-year history. He wanted to impress upon the new citizens the sacrifices made for their freedom.
“This is truly a wonderful day,” said Ellis, his voice cracking, as he gave an emotional tribute to the virtues of citizenship, U.S. history and the warriors buried around him.
“I did it to honor our country’s warriors and to give the new citizens a sense for what makes this country great,” Ellis said. The judge, known for his thorough legal opinions and an occasionally irascible demeanor, said he “didn’t want any politicians” attending the ceremony. After the immigrants took their oath, Ellis greeted each one personally, choking up as he hugged a new citizen wearing a U.S. Navy uniform.
He then told a woman from Iraq that he was “honored that you chose to be an American.”
Read more here.
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