Army reservist takes oath of U.S. citizenship: 'I’m happy to protect the people'
By MICHAEL D. PITMAN | Dayton Daily News | Published: September 18, 2019
HAMILTON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — U.S. Army Reserve Spec. Melchisedeck Uwumwami joined the military to defend the United States and its citizens.
On Tuesday, the 28-year-old Rwanda native and Dayton resident became one of those citizens.
“This is a really great opportunity, to be an American citizen and to share the same values as Americans,” said Uwumwami, a member of the 961st Engineer Company in Trenton. “As a U.S. Army member, I’m happy to protect the people, and now they are my people.”
Uwumwami took the oath of U.S. citizenship in a naturalization ceremony with 98 others at Miami University Regionals campus in Hamilton. The ceremony was filled with pomp and circumstance, including a performance by the Miami University Men’s Glee Club and Butler County Sheriff’s Pipe and Drum Corps. The Butler County Sheriff’s Color Guard presented the American and Ohio flags.
“I know I have a lot of opportunities now, including voting, including protecting other Americans, including being loyal to the United States,” Uwumwami said. “I’ll continue to protect the Army’s values, and protecting American citizens.”
The naturalization ceremony is the marquee event for Miami University Regionals’ Citizenship and Democracy Week on the Hamilton and Middletown campuses. Since 2015, 441 people have taken the oath of citizenship.
Uwumwami said America is “a country of diversity,” and Miami University President Greg Crawford told the crowd of new citizens, their family and other guests that diversity is the “foundation of our strength” and “a vital source of creativity and innovation.”
“The challenges in our workplace are too complex and too big for any one person or any one discipline to solve them alone,” he said. “We need a multitude of voices … and you are many of those voices.”
U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman presided over the oath of citizenship.
“American citizenship is a great gift that represents the dreams, aspirations and struggles of centuries before us,” said Bowman, a former immigration attorney, asking the new citizens to exercise their rights to vote, free speech and serve on juries, and become involved in their communities.