GRAFENWHOER, Germany — Eleven members of the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria community celebrated becoming United States citizens at the naturalization ceremony, here, Sept. 25.
USAG Bavaria hosted a naturalization ceremony at the Tower View Conference Center where those 11 individuals from nine different countries took the Oath of Allegiance and officially became American citizens.
The ceremony kicked off of with the National Anthem by vocalist Nicole Johnson-Vogl.
The Oath of Allegiance was conducted by Ronald Rosenberg, Chief of International Operations for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The citizens naturalized at the ceremony originally come from Guyana, South Korea, Burkina Faso, Jamaica, Brazil, India, Portugal, El Salvador and Mexico.
“For all of you today and the future generations to come. Along with all the rights you now have comes the responsibilities of citizenship,” said Roland Lyons, field office director for USCIS. “It’s now your duty to make positive contributions to your community and the nation. The United States welcomes you.”
Since Oct. 1, 2001, USCIS has naturalized 129,587 members of the military, with 11,483 of those service members becoming citizens during USCIS naturalization ceremonies in over 30 foreign countries. According to their website, 4,135 military members were naturalized in fiscal year 2018.
“I was exactly where are you right now. Not in the same chair, not in the same country, but in the same shoes,“ said guest speaker Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Henry Soussan.
Soussan was born and raised in Germany. He became a U.S. citizen 15 years ago in Oklahoma. When 9/11 happened, he signed the contract to join the Army, even though he had never been in the U.S.
“To go to America, to join the Army and to support this great nation, I always admired — This was the most significant contribution I made,” said Soussan.
This quarter’s naturalization ceremony also held a special place for those citizens hailing from the Hispanic countries of El Salvador and Mexico because the U.S. government recognizes Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“It’s a dream, it means a lot — freedom and paying back what America gave to me,” said Pfc. Carolina Reyes, who is originally from Mexico.
Reyes added that her parents sacrificed a lot to bring her to the States, and that this moment is a way to repay them and make them proud of her.
Please visit our Naturalization Ceremony photo album.