Escanaba’s Coast Guard namesake was home to naturalization ceremonies for 18 new citizens from 14 countries.
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson presided over the event aboard the Coast Guard cutter Escanaba at its home port in downstate Grand Haven. The original Escanaba was commissioned in 1932. It was destroyed by a torpedo during World War Two, costing the lives of 105 sailors. The latest edition of the vessel was commissioned in the late 1980s.
The U.S. Coast Guard Station Grand Haven, in partnership with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Ottawa County Clerk’s Office, the Charles Conklin American Legion Post, and the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, held a naturalization ceremony on the flight deck of the USCG Cutter Escanaba Wednesday.
After the national anthem and remarks by several officials, a total of 18 individuals from 14 countries were sworn in as new U.S. citizens and then could register to vote with Secretary of State staff.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity for those who are becoming Americans. We at the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office are thankful for the efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and the USCIS who made this ceremony possible on this historic ship,” said Barb Vander Veen, Secretary Johnson’s executive office liaison for West Michigan.
The USCGC Escanaba was first commissioned in Bay City in 1932. It was stationed in the Great Lakes until 1941 when it was used as a convoy in the Atlantic during WWII. It was hit by a torpedo in 1943. One hundred and five sailors aboard the cutter lost their lives, with only two surviving the attack. The current USCGC Escanaba was recommissioned in the late 1980s.
“We are so grateful for the support of the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office for their eligible voter registration efforts and their participation in ceremonies like these. It means so much to those becoming U.S. citizens,” said John Martin, director of the Loutit District Library in Grand Haven. The library has been the location for naturalization ceremonies in the past.
“Ottawa County loves to host these incredibly special ceremonies and the Secretary of State’s Office is honored to be a part of it,” said Vander Veen. Secretary Johnson’s staff currently participates in naturalization ceremonies all over Michigan, promoting voter registration at each event for all eligible voters.
Left photo: Barb Vander Veen, the Secretary of State’s executive office liaison for West Michigan, helps new citizens register as voters following a naturalization ceremony in Grand Haven on Aug. 1.
Center photo: New U.S. citizens are sworn in at naturalization ceremonies on the deck of the Escanaba, a cutter in Grand Haven.
Right photo: Kristi Dougan, an election specialist from the Bureau of Elections in the Michigan Department of State, helps a new citizen understand the process of registering to vote.