New U.S. Citizens Took Oath in Yosemite National Park

September 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thursday marked the 222nd anniversary of the signing of the constitution. And to celebrate the occasion, dozens of Valley residents became U.S. Citizens.38 immigrants from 17 different countries stood surrounded by the spectacular sights at Yosemite's Glacier Point and took an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Among the new Americans, Jose Nacariego, who moved to the U.S from Mexico 20 years ago and finally earned this certificate to teach his children the value of hard work.

More than six million people have become U.S. Citizens in the past decade, but only a few small groups have had their naturalization ceremonies in the national park. Tewodros Kidane, an Ethiopia native who now works as a doctor in Fresno, says the majestic setting makes this day even more meaningful.

Kidane said, "I'm really excited and I feel like I'm blessed right now."

U.S. Citizenship and immigration officials say this is the perfect place to celebrate the natural splendor and diversity that set this country apart.

A couple from Iran hopes that's something other Americans will remember despite conflicts abroad.

Farzin Aghtasi said, "My message to my fellow Americans, I can say that now, is to make sure we all see us as members of one human race."

Dozens of similar ceremonies took place around the country, but those who came to Yosemite say nothing can compare to becoming a U.S. citizen in this national park.

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