U.S. military personnel and families become citizens

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A special Citizenship Ceremony took place Thursday morning aboard the Battleship North Carolina.

A group of 74 members of the United States military and their families have become the newest US citizens.

Though they've heard the Star Spangled Banner time and time again, Thursday it held special meaning as it became their anthem.

In various accents, from more than 20 countries, the group vowed to support the nation's laws and bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law.  But, the men and women taking part of this ceremony have already accomplished the latter part of the oath.

Eakathat Khanthasa said he couldn't think of any other way to give back to the country other than serving.  He is excited for what his future may hold in the land of opportunities.

"The possibilities are endless," said Khanthasa.  "There are certain things you couldn't do when you are not a citizen. Become a commission officer or getting to vote. I would have loved to part of the last vote that went on."

The U.S. Marine Band and members of the Daughters of the Revolution were at the naturalization ceremony to welcome the new citizens.

Miss USA, Kristen Dalton, offered welcoming remarks, and Deputy Chief of Domestic Operations for USCIS was the keynote speaker.

In 2003, USCIS became one of three legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service components to join the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

During the past year, the organization has helped more than 640,000 men, women, and children become United States citizens.

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