They were some of the 40 immigrants (from 31 countries) who took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States on Thursday morning amid camera flashes at the Maryland Historical Society. Part of a Flag Day naturalization ceremony, they renounced loyalties to "any foreign prince" and pledged to "support and defend the U.S. Constitution."
Pavel Kipnis, 15, of Pikesville — formerly of St. Petersburg in Russia — was one of several children to take the oath. "There's a lot more opportunity here for me," Pavel said.
His parents, who were recently naturalized, left Russia for the promise of more political and economic freedom, he said.
Muammer Bicer, originally from Istanbul, Turkey, was all smiles after the brief ceremony. He too started to talk about the freedoms Americans enjoy before being cut off by a female companion who wanted to leave right away. Bicer obliged.
The last person to receive her certificate was Diane Love, who is from England. Immigration officials couldn't resist the irony; after all, Thursday's ceremony was loosely tied to War of 1812 commemorations.
An announcer called her name, saying she would get her U.S. citizenship "even though they were on the opposite side of the war."
She smiled at the reference but thought it odd that it was highlighted. "It was kind of unexpected to have that cast at me," Love said later.