Sustainers host naturalization ceremony
July 9, 2012
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (July 1, 2012) -- The Joint Sustainment Command-Afghanistan hosted a naturalization ceremony at Kandahar Airfield on June 29, 2012.
In total, 44 service members serving in the combined joint operations area-Afghanistan took part in the ceremony and officially became American citizens.
Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, the commanding general of JSC-A, thanked everyone in attendance as these service members achieved their American dream.
"Today we celebrate the American dream. The dream of a nation where all people are created equal," said French. "You are here because you have not merely chosen to live in this country, you have chosen to serve this country and become an American citizen while deployed to Afghanistan."
Speaking at the ceremony was the Honorable Stephen G. McFarland, the Ambassador and Coordinating Director Rule of Law and Law Enforcement for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
McFarland, who joined the embassy in January, said that he was honored to have the opportunity to attend the ceremony and aid in the process of naturalizing America's newest citizens. He explained that by taking the Oath of Citizenship, they were following in the footsteps of many others who had become American's many years ago.
"Today, you are all Americans," McFarland told the service members. "By taking the Oath of Citizenship, you're joining a long and proud tradition."
For many of those naturalized during the ceremony, the opportunity to become American citizens was one that they have dreamed of for many years.
When Marine Cpl. Carlos A. Silva joined the military, he said that he knew he would become a citizen one day, but was never sure of when. He said that he traveled to the United States with his parents as a young child, and grew up there. For Silva, this day was special and overwhelming at the same time.
"I'm truly happy to be here," said Silva. "Today is special day for myself and my family."