Monday, July 2, 2012
Thirty-five military service men and women will have an extra reason to celebrate this upcoming 4th of July. They are now U.S. citizens.
Thirty-five military service men and women will have an extra reason to celebrate this upcoming 4th of July because they are now U.S. citizens.
The all-military naturalization ceremony took place this morning aboard the USS Midway.
"It’s very appropriate that here on the 4th of July, which represents the birth of our nation, we celebrate the young people that are coming in to continue this legacy of service and sacrifice and commitment and a willingness to fight when our freedoms are challenged, which is really the genesis of our nation,” said Mac McLaughlin, president and CEO of the USS Midway Museum.
The men and women come from 18 countries, like China, Cuba, Belize, Mexico and the Philippines.
Once they recited the oath of allegiance, Chief Judge Peter W. Bowie said each person is “now the equal of every other citizen of the United States.”
Bowie asked the service men and women to share their heritage with others because it enriches and contributes to the American way of life.
“Please know that while the people of the United States now expect your full faith and allegiance, we also do not expect you to give up or forget your natural affection for your native land,” he said.
Jaime Rodriguez said he has been waiting to be an American citizen his entire life. He said he appreciates what the United States represents and the benefits it has given his family.
“This country gave me a good opportunity to study, to give my family a good opportunity to come here and improve themselves and that’s what I’m trying to do, make my family happy, make this country a little better if I can,” Rodriguez said.
Manuel De La Torre, born in Mexico and now a U.S. citizen, said he looks forward to being a member of a country that embraces other cultures like his own.
“Given this new opportunity to become an American I’m also going to remember my traits and my people and all my traditions as well,” he said. “Continue to celebrate where I come from and continue to enjoy who I am now becoming, an American.”