Special naturalization ceremony for the Military
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - May 30, 2012 (WPVI) -- May is military appreciation month, and a special naturalization ceremony focused on several members of the military at Valley Forge National Historic Park Wednesday.
The event was part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' annual celebration to remember all of the members of our Armed Forces for their dedication to our country and for the freedoms we all enjoy.
Among the 53 people who became new U.S. citizens on Wednesday, three currently serve in the Army National Guard. They derive their citizenship through military naturalization.
"They are eligible for naturalization after one day of honorable service," explained Philip Browndeis.
Members of the armed forces are authorized under special provisions of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, an expedited naturalization process.
"They are afforded an early naturalization, but they still have to pass the test; knowledge of civics, government and history, and of course, be fluent in English.
The new citizens originate from 27 countries including Bangladesh, China, Columbia, Egypt, Israel, Liberia, Nigeria, Spain and Vietnam.
"It is a great honor to be able to serve your country, and I am very happy that I can give back to the country," said Bruck Bekele, who is from Ethiopia and a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
"I'm so pround of him," said Bekele's mom, Sara Gashaw.
"My mom and I became citizens about three months ago," said Hiwot Bekele, Bruck's sister.
They all received certificates, the Sons of the American Revolution retired the colors, and the country's newest citizens were then congratulated on their achievement.
"They are now the proud owners of almost 400 national parks, which are wonderful places to learn about their new country," said Kate Hammond, Valley Forge National Park Superintendent.
In the last decade, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has naturalized nearly 79,000 members of the military.
military, king of prussia, pennsylvania, local/state, lisa thomas-laury
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