Yongsan welcomes new U.S. citizens
September 13, 2013
Yongsan, REPUBLIC OF KOREA- Eight people from various nations became American citizens following a naturalization ceremony held at the Army Community Services building, Sep. 11.
The naturalization candidates are natives of countries to include Korea, Haiti, Philippines and Belize. They are all currently residents of Area II.
"We thought that in honor of 9/11 it would be great to do the naturalization ceremony on that day," said Walter Haith, the Homeland Security representative. "A bill was passed in 2004 to allow military members deployed overseas to become U.S. citizens. Following it, another bill was passed in 2008 for military dependants to be naturalized as U.S. citizens. Since then, we have been working on helping people achieve their goal of becoming an U.S. citizen."
People who are not born in the U.S. may become citizens through the naturalization process. Candidates swear an oath, "to renounce their allegiance to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty and vow to protect and defend the United States of America."
"I have always been practicing what the oath says," said Euiwhi Knight, a new American citizen who participated in the ceremony. "However, the oath of allegiance made me realize that I have become a citizen of America. I will continue to serve my country with devotion and fulfill my duties as a citizen."
Newly naturalized citizen, Sharon Felicia Maheia; a former teacher, is also a military spouse.
"I feel proud of myself," Maheia said. "Becoming an American citizen was a dream for me for a long time. I stand here thanks to many people, especially my husband who is currently serving the country as a service member. This is a very important day in my life, and I am definitely excited to be recognized officially as an American citizen."
During fiscal year 2013, more than 500 service members and military dependants were naturalized in Japan and Korea. The Homeland Security services plans to naturalize 200 more people up to October. The next scheduled military naturalization ceremony will be in Camp Casey, Sep. 25.
For information about naturalization of service members, military spouses or military children, visit http://www.uscis.gov