GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
The Oath of American Citizenship is one taken with much pride, an oath to support and defend the Constitution, an oath to bear arms, an oath to join the greatest country on Earth.
This oath was taken in unison by 29 individuals from seven different countries at the O.C. Fisher Federal Building in San Angelo, Texas, September 4.
“In the course of my duties I get to do a lot of great things,” said Col. Andres Nazario 17th Training Wing commander. “I pin awards on Airmen, promote them, talk with their parents. But as great as that is, I can think of nothing I routinely do that is greater than this! Welcoming new members into our great big family we call the United States.”
Nazario attended the Naturalization Ceremony, being from Puerto Rico himself he knew something of coming to the U.S.
“I am a native Spanish speaker,” said Nazario. “Here in Texas we all know the Spanish word for thank you ‘gracias’ literally grace in English. In that one syllable, or three in Spanish, is implied gratitude, obligation, joy, peace, and community. ‘Thank you’ or ‘gracias’ cannot exist on its own. It is a word of community. A thought that ties us closer together.”
As the seven countries recited the Oath of American Citizenship they became one. They were not Mexican-Americans, Russian-Americans, or Vietnamese-Americans, they were simply Americans.
“I was thinking about the first three words in the Constitution. They are powerful in any language,” said Nazario as he looked into the crowd. “In Spanish, ‘Nosotros la Gente.’ But there is something so very powerful about seeing them there in English, those three words, written bigger than all the rest. WE THE PEOPLE. It is a declaration of love, of hope. It is defiant, resilient, strong, and within it lies the source of our strength as a nation. It’s not some of the people, or this color of people, or only the people who live here or do this or that. It is all of us. Together. No one left out. Old, young, rich, poor, plumber, doctor, mother, father. All of us reap the benefits of being We the People. All of us are responsible for We the People. Because as it turns out, our country, our nation, our United States of America is not a flag or a song or a day of celebration or remembrance. The United States is us, all of us.”
Individuals from Canada, Columbia, Ghana, Russia, Spain, Vietnam, and Mexico officially became American citizens. The oldest 77 years old, the youngest 20 years old. Some took years to complete the process and endured many hardships. But now they are part of We the People.
CHÚNG TÔI NHỮNG NGƯỜI
NOSOTROS LA GENTE
NOUS LE PEUPLE
WE THE PEOPLE