Photo by Sergio Goes
It’s 8:20 on a Monday morning in May. In a gray room in the old Gold Bond office building on Ala Moana Boulevard, more than 40 people (including Philippines native Arsenio Abenoja, center) from around the world take the oath to become American citizens, renouncing their fidelity to other countries and promising to “defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies.” The ceremony happens on an almost-weekly basis. It takes about half an hour and consists of the oath, the Pledge of Allegiance, a message from President George Bush and a music video of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” Last year, 4,418 people were naturalized in Hawaii.
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