A group of veterans, active duty service members, National Guard and military family members participated in a naturalization ceremony at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton Friday morning, ahead of Memorial Day Weekend.
The group of seventeen hailed from the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Federated States of Micronesia, Nigeria, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Republic of Serbia, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
“Being able to say I’m American is a pretty big deal,” said HM Minhwan Lee, of the U.S. Navy. The hospital corpsman from the Republic of Korea has been wearing his military uniform proudly before he held the title of U.S. Citizen Friday.
So has HM Gwendelynn Lukan of the Federated States of Micronesia.
“I can help serve this country for all the good stuff they’re doing,” she said about being a part of the Navy. “I’m proud to call myself an American."
Andressa Johnson is from Brazil but has been in the U.S. for 11 years, first arriving here as a student.
“I have seen people voting and participating in actual serving the country, and I never was able to,” Johnson said.
Her husband is in the Navy.
“He is fighting for the country, for the freedom of this country. For me that represents that he’s fighting for me too and my own freedom,” according to Johnson.
The group of 17 raised their right hands and recited the Oath of Allegiance, led by Honorable Judge Watten Eginton, then placed their hands over their hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance as official Americans.
Capt. Paul Whitescarver, the commanding officer of the Naval Submarine Base New London made a few remarks. Rep. Chis Soto delivered the keynote speech.
The special ceremony commemorates Military Appreciation Month, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day.