Making Indy Home: Celebrating the Naturalization Ceremony

People standing under the Landmark for Peace after Naturalization Ceremony

In the quiet tranquility of Martin Luther King Jr. Park, there stands a unique and poignant memorial: the Landmark for Peace. This monument is a touching tribute to Robert Kennedy—and a powerful symbol of hope here in Indianapolis. Today, more than five decades after his death, his legacy of social justice and his passion for equality continues to inspire people around the world. 

That’s why we honor his memory every June 6th, with a day of remembrance to celebrate Bobby Kennedy’s life and legacy. But for the past few years, June 6 has also marked the day of our local naturalization ceremony, where immigrants become citizens and pledge allegiance to their new home!

Immigration is a truly important part of American culture—grounded in the understanding that diversity makes our community stronger. These immigrants come seeking refuge, opportunity, and a chance to build a new life. And in turn, they bring their unique perspective and culture to Indiana, making our home a more beautiful and vibrant place to live. 

With that in mind, the Landmark for Peace memorial is a fitting backdrop to welcome these new Hoosiers. The monument depicts Kennedy reaching out to Martin Luther King Jr., symbolizing the ongoing struggle for equality and inclusion in the United States. What better place to host a naturalization ceremony, where we welcome our new neighbors? These ceremonies reinforce the values of democracy, freedom, and inclusiveness that Bobby Kennedy stood for—and demonstrate the legacy of his work through the lives of people who hail from all corners of the globe.

The Landmark for Peace tells a story of tragedy and hope.

Designed by Greg R. Perry and sculpted by Daniel Edwards, the Landmark for Peace memorial was created as a tribute to the late Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy. In 1968, Kennedy was on the cusp of winning the Democratic nomination for president. His campaign brought him to Indianapolis on the fateful night of April 4, 1968, when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. 

Instead of his planned campaign speech, Kennedy stood on the bed of a pickup truck and gave an impassioned, impromptu address that called for unity in the wake of King’s death. Along with King’s assassination, the country was reeling from the ongoing war in Vietnam and the struggle for civil rights. But Kennedy’s speech focused on the need to empathize with one another and work together in the fight for equality. 

Today, the Landmark for Peace memorial stands in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, near the spot where Kennedy gave his historic speech. The monument marks a pivotal moment in American history, but it also reminds us all of the importance of reaching out and standing up for one another as we fight for social justice. This symbolism makes the Landmark for Peace an especially meaningful place to host a naturalization ceremony each year.  

The naturalization ceremony is a powerful moment for immigrants.

Of course, there are many naturalization ceremonies held throughout the year—at locations all across the state. But the June 6th Ceremony at the Landmark for Peace has become an important tradition here in Indianapolis. 

After all, naturalization ceremonies align perfectly with the values of empathy, diversity, and shared humanity that Kennedy embodied. As immigrants take the oath of citizenship, they join a vibrant and diverse nation with a strong history of cultural exchange. 

The ceremony represents the culmination of the journey these individuals have undertaken to become part of this nation. It’s more than just a legal requirement for becoming a citizen; it’s a form of community-building that brings people together from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. For many immigrants, the ceremony is a moment of reflection and gratitude for the opportunities and freedoms that America has to offer. 

It’s also a moment that reminds us of the many challenges that immigrants still face—and why we need to work together to create a more just and inclusive society. By holding the ceremony at the Landmark for Peace, these new citizens can take their oath in a place that represents the values of justice, equality, and progress that are central to the American identity. 

While these individuals mark the end of one journey and the beginning of another, the naturalization ceremony celebrates the diversity and multiculturalism that makes America a melting pot of different cultures and customs. 

Landmark for Peace

Indianapolis remembers the legacy of Kennedy and King.

On June 6, 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated. The country was plunged into grief as we mourned the loss of another beloved leader, just two months after Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. But now, June 6 is a day of remembrance and celebration, as we welcome immigrants to their new home. 

Every year, the naturalization ceremony at the Landmark for Peace is a time to remember the life and legacy of Bobby Kennedy, whose message of hope and social justice continues to resonate today. Kennedy was a fierce advocate for the rights of marginalized communities, including immigrants, African Americans, and impoverished Americans. But he truly believed that our country could overcome its divisions and create a more equal and compassionate society.

Kennedy and King’s shared vision of peace and unity is still relevant in our society, as we confront many of the same issues they faced in their lifetime. The memorial stands as a reminder that the pursuit of equality is an ongoing journey, and that it’s up to each of us to challenge the injustices that we see in the world. The annual naturalization ceremony is a moment to honor that legacy and remember why we fight for a brighter future—standing tall beneath the inspiring Landmark of Peace.

To all the new citizens, welcome home!