What does it mean to be an American citizen? Show up Friday, July 21 at 10 am at the Immigrants' Assistance Center, 58 Crapo St., New Bedford, and ask the next group of 'green card' holders who'll be taking the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.

Throughout our nation's history, foreign-born men and women have immigrated here legally and have contributed greatly to our communities. It's the magic of our American Spirit. Since the first naturalization law in 1790, applicants for naturalization have taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty .... I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God" will be recited in it's entirety at this moving ceremony in New Bedford. Mayor Jon Mitchell, court officials, a judge and other dignitaries and family members will be on hand.

With freedom comes obligation. With liberty comes duty. Without these, our nation is threatened. I am certain, the new U.S. citizens understand this.