There was scarcely a dry eye in the Arrow Heights Elementary Gymnasium Friday afternoon as 46 men and women — nine of them Revelstoke residents — from 17 different countries were sworn in as new Canadian citizens.
During a rarely seen here 45-minute Citizenship Ceremony, Judge Ann Dillon spoke of the rights and responsibilities these new citizens have in one of the few countries on the planet where equality before the law is a reality — not just words written on paper.
In an interview prior to the ceremony, Judge Dillon said she was pleased to have the opportunity hold a Citizenship Ceremony in one of the Interior communities, as opposed to a major centre such as Vancouver or Kelowna.
“There is real value in this for everybody — not just the new citizens,” she said. “It teaches our children that citizenship is something earned and we encourage everyone to reaffirm their citizenship by reciting the Oath of Allegiance along with their new co-citizens.”
That recitation was joined by almost everyone who attended the ceremony — more than 150 people — and for some, like me, it was probably the first or few times they had ever sworn the Oath of Allegiance.
The ceremony included a rendition of the traditional folk song, Land of the Silver Birch, by the students in Sue Leach’s Grade3/4 class and a performance by Laurel Russell’s Grade 4/5 class of We Are More, a spoken word poem made famous during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics by slam poet Shane L. Koyczan. There were also words of welcome from City Councillor and Acting-Mayor Chris Johnston, School Board Chairman Alan Chell and Laura Christie, one of MLA Norm Macdonald’s constituency assistants.
But enough wordage about the event. Here are photos from the ceremony: