"The court is proud of
each of you," said U.S. District Judge Karl Forester,
presiding over the second ceremony as Tyutenkova and 46
others took the citizenship oath. "You have become
citizens the hard way. You have earned it."
But Forester also warned that citizenship
carries responsibilities. He urged the newly minted
citizens to "work to stamp out injustice," noting that
terrorists both domestic and foreign continue to
Georgia Clemons, representing the Bryan
Station Chapter of the Daughters of the American
Revolution, told the new citizens to be involved in
their communities and to "always, always, stand tall and
be proud to be an American."
Tyutenkova, who lived under harsh Soviet
rule in Khazakstan until the Soviet Union collapsed in
1991, said that during the process of becoming an
American citizen she was asked why people continue to
come to America. Her simple answer: Freedom.
"It is still what people come here for,"
said Tyutenkova, who has family in Khazakstan and visits
Tyutenkova's journey to American citizenship began in
2004, when she worked as a translator for international
observers sent to monitor elections in Khazakstan under
the auspices of the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe. The observer she was assigned to
translate for was UK's Brunn.
"We worked together for five days," she
said. "And then he came back several times to see me."
They were married in Lexington on
Valentine's Day 2006, and Tyutenkova began the process
of becoming an American citizen.
Since arriving in Lexington, she has
become a fixture at Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church,
where she lends her gardening skills to the grounds
brings so much to our Sunday School class," Diane
Baldwin, associate pastor, said as one of those who
turned out to support Tyutenkova on her big day Friday.
"Knowing someone who has lived under communism makes us
all understand how privileged we really are."
Brunn wasn't able to attend Friday's
ceremony. He's in Belgium and won't return until later
this month. But he did e-mail Tyutenkova a poem that he
wrote for the occasion. She said she considered showing
it to her friends, but finally decided not to.
"It's too personal," she said.