News: New citizens emerge during FLEACT Yokosuka 2013 Naturalization ceremony
YOKOSUKA, Japan - Region Legal Service Office (RLSO), Japan presided over a naturalization ceremony that welcomed 17 service members and civilians as the newest crop of people to become naturalized citizens during a ceremony conducted at the Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka’s Chapel of Hope, Sept. 26.
Deputy District Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Robert Daum was the keynote speaker for the ceremony, applauding the selectees for the completion of their long road to citizenship.
“In choosing to become citizens, you have learned about our nations’ constitution, and the rights and freedoms that we share because of the strides our founding fathers took to secure the blessings of liberty for all Americans,” said Daum. “So today, as we honor the importance of citizenship, we also celebrate the ideals enshrined in the constitution which represent to us not just words written more than 200 years ago, but fundamental and enduring principles as relevant today as the day the constitution was signed. In just a few moments, you will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and in doing so you will be reminded that your newly-acquired citizenship bestows new rights as well as new responsibilities on you.”
In all, a total of nine different countries were represented by the 17 candidates; Japan, Korea, Republic of the Philippines, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Columbia, Jamaica, and China – all of which can now officially lay claim to being American citizens.
“As you engage in new citizenship, I encourage you to be active in your communities, work with your neighbors and in doing so, add to the strength and character of our nation,” said Daum. “I encourage you to become informed on issues that matter to you, to your family and your community and to participate in our civic society. Generations of immigrants like you have come to our country seeking a place where democracy is not just an ideal, but a reality, where opportunities are available for everyone, regardless of race, religion or country of origin.”
Upon the completion of Daum’s speech, the newly-selected citizens repeated the Oath of Allegiance, which was followed by a reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Electricians Mate 3rd class Kyung Yang, the youngest of the candidates.
“It means everything to me to become a citizen,” said Yang, who came to the United States 13 years ago from Seoul, Korea, eventually relocating and growing up in Phoenix, Arizona. “Having the opportunity to serve my country while being in the Navy and how hard my parents worked to get me to where I am today by bringing me to the states – it feels really good.”
Yang’s road to citizenship began well before his days as an active duty sailor aboard his current and first command, USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62).
“After high school, I began to decide what I really wanted to do as far as my career goes,” said Yang. “I thought that the Navy was the best option to choose for my path. Not just for my career, but also because I figured the Navy would be the fastest way to gain citizenship. I did this not only for myself, but also for my family to have a better life in the United States, and now I am here.”
Prior to receiving their certificates of citizenship, President Barrack Obama appeared by way of video message to welcome the newly-naturalized citizens.
“Citizenship is the idea at the heart of our founding – that as Americans, we are blessed with God-given and inalienable rights, but with those rights come responsibilities – to ourselves, to one another, and to future generations,” said Obama.