By Spc. Monte Swift (USARCENT)November 20, 2009
Patriotic music filled the Zone 1 chapel as servicemembers of several units filed in to
show their support and pride for 12 servicemembers as they raised their right hand to
pledge the Oath of Citizenship to the United States.
The newly sworn in U.S. citizens represented a wide-range of nationalities coming from
countries such as The United Kingdom, Jamaica, Panama, Columbia, the Philippines, Mexico, Uzbekistan, American Samoa and Guyana. With each hand raised came new traditions and culture which add to the vast diversity on which the U.S was founded.
Aca,!A"I feel very proud, I can now say the Soldiers Creed with pride because I truly am an American,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Janel Bartley of Delta 230th Finance, Fort Hood, Texas. Aca,!A"It really makes me feel special knowing I am serving my country as an American.Aca,!A?
The ceremony highlighted our countriesAca,!a,,c vast cultural background with Aca,!A"The Faces of America,Aca,!A? a video showing immigrants arriving at Ellis Island and how their contribution to the U.S. was a building block for where we are today.
A speech to the new citizens by former Cuban citizen, Brig. Gen Xavier Lobeto, deputy commanding general, 1st Sustainment Command, told of his own experience of taking
the oath and how much their commitment means to the nation and himself.
Aca,!A"At the age of 17 when I took the oath, there were a lot of mixed feelings. I already felt part of America because I had been there so long but there was still something missing,Aca,!A? said Lobeto. Aca,!A"When I took the oath, thatAca,!a,,cs when the missing part came to me. One year later I was serving in the U.S. Army and I have been here ever since. It is a continued love affair with this nation that grew through years of service. I feel like I can never repay enough.Aca,!A?
Staff Sgt. Jason Choate of the 354th Medical Logistics Company, has waited 25 years to be able to call himself an American.
Aca,!A"I have been in the U.S. since 1984 when I was adopted and I have been waiting a long time to be able to wear the flag on my shoulder as an American,Aca,!A? said Choate. Aca,!A"I will be celebrating for the rest of my life. Now I can move forward and pursue other things in my life and career.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"It didnAca,!a,,ct really hit me until we started rehearsal,Aca,!A? said Spc. Solmua Tiliaia, 230th Finance, Fort Hood, Texas. Aca,!A"I have waited 20 years to get citizenship, and I now feel more proud than ever before.Aca,!A?
Following the Oath of Citizenship, Petty Officer 3rd Class Vadim Nemirovsky led the new citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance. They then filed onto the stage where they stated their name and country of origin before receiving their Certificate of Citizenship.
The ceremony concluded with a patriotic video played to Lee Greenwoods Aca,!A"Proud to be an American.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"It makes me proud that [these servicemembers] were serving before becoming citizens,Aca,!A? said Lobeto.