May Miculis
May Miculis

Casimir “Casey” Eitner of Castleton was sworn in earlier this month — on a Sunday on the front porch of the Laurel Mills Store, in front of friends and family — as a U.S. citizen. The ceremonial swearing-in was done by friend and fellow Rappahannocker, Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a brief speech, Canadian citizen Eitner shared his backghround: “I was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania of Poles who were ethnically cleansed from Eastern Poland by the Soviets, managed to get out of Russian labor camps through Iran and made their way to temporary quarters in East Africa and on to a better life in Canada and the United States.”

He added: “As our country struggles with the Syrian refugee question, it is worth noting that these two Muslim and African countries took in a hundred thousand sick and starving Europeans. The folks I met going through the citizenship process were from a wide diversity of backgrounds — from Lithuania, Ghana, Lebanon, Israel, China, Mexico and many other countries. It struck me that at a time when some of my now fellow citizens are being seduced by bigotry and intolerance, one of this country’s great strengths is its ability over centuries to attract and assimilate this diversity of culture, religion and viewpoint, and be better for it.  Having full citizenship now allows me to participate fully in resolving these issues in a way that respects the freedom of religion, speech and expression that are fundamental to our country’s strength and greatness.”

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