A new American pledges her allegiance


When a person chooses to become a United States citizen, he or she must take an official oath of renunciation, ending a prior allegiance and an oath of allegiance testifying to a new loyalty, to the United States. The text of the oath that Mary Anny Oggioni of Tisbury took on March 10, to become a citizen of the United States, may be found in federal naturalization regulations that date to 1929.

Despite its complicated construction and extensive series of promises, the oath is the core of the citizenship ceremony. “In fact, it is not until you take the Oath of Allegiance that you actually become a U.S. citizen,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website instructs applicants.

What were her thoughts as Ms. Oggioni took the oath? There were several, she says, but the first was a strong sense of the responsibility she had chosen to assume.

The words she spoke and promises she made were not something she took lightly, she recalled, especially the part about renouncing allegiance to her native country.

“You have to think a lot about that, before you say it, and I did,” Ms. Oggioni said. “I will always be Brazilian by birth, and I grew up there, and my family is still there, and I was lucky enough to be able to choose where I want to be.

“But where your heart is, that’s where your home is,” Ms. Oggioni added. “My heart is here, so this is my home.”

The Oath of Allegiance

“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, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”