Camp Victory, Iraq — Soldiers serving in Iraq regard Veteran's Day not only as a day of remembrance to the past, but a day of promise for the future as they receive their U.S. citizenship during their combat tour in Iraq, Nov. 11.
Members of the 37th Engineer Battalion- Joint Task Force Eagle, based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., traveled to Victory Base Camp to the Multi National Corps- Iraq headquarters, where 6 JTF Eagle Soldiers patiently waited to receive their citizenship of a country for which they have been serving.
Soldiers Pfc. Haile Gebremedhin, of Ethiopia, Pfc. Pierre Salomon, of Haiti, Spc. Lewam Tesgazghi, of Eritrea, Pvt. Marilse Palma, of Mexico, Spc. Shannakay Powell, of Jamaica, Spc. Nourelhuda of Sudan, and Pfc. Joshua Garry, of Indonesia, were all asked why they wanted to become U.S. citizens. Tesagazghi, of the 50th Multi Role Bridge Co., answered simple yet reflective.
"America is truly the land of the free. I want to be a part of and give back to the nation that has already given me so much."
An awe-inspiring American flag hung from the ceiling of Saddam Husain's former palace. Service members crowded the bottom floor, while others watched from the balconies. During his remarks, Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, the MNC-I commander, used words such as commitment and loyalty, attributes every American should respect and regard.
The JTF Eagle command team, Lt. Col. Paul Huszar and Command Sgt. Maj. Wayne Durham, watched as their Soldiers raised their right hand and affirmed their commitment to The United States.
"This is a truly proud day for our task force," Huszar said following the ceremony.
Smiles beamed, some shed tears, but all felt proud. In his recorded message to the new Americans, U.S. Armed Forces Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, said that "no dream in America is impossible", which is a new reality to the 6 Soldiers of JTF Eagle.
Salomon, of B Co., articulated with great confidence and romanticism his reason for enlisting in the service and wanting to become a U.S. Citizen.
"America the great is where I experienced my adolescence, my youth, and my manhood. America the great is where I experienced my first love, where I struggled with poverty. America the great showed me I can be a part of the dream. I love America so much; I joined the Army to protect her constitution and her citizens."
This work, Paratroopers receive citizenship in Iraq U.S. Army, by CPT Meghan E. Keefe, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.