|Date: 05/07/2012 Time: 09:18:00 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama hosted here a
naturalization ceremony for 25 active duty service members in the East Room of
the White House, which coincided with the Fourth of July celebrations across
In remarks during the ceremony, held late on Wednesday, Obama told the
audience "it is an honor for me to serve as your Commander-in-Chief."
"Today, you raised your hand and have taken an oath of citizenship. And I
could not be prouder to be among the first to greet you as "my fellow
Americans," he said.
He added "What a perfect way to celebrate America's birthday -- the world's
oldest democracy, with some of our newest citizens."
He noted that this is "one of my favorite things to do. It brings me great
joy and inspiration because it reminds us that we are a country that is bound
together not simply by ethnicity or bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of
"With this ceremony today, and ceremonies like it across our country, we
affirm another truth: Our American journey, our success, would simply not be
possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores
from every corner of the globe," he stressed.
He continued saying "we say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means,
we are a nation of immigrants."
Obama affirmed that "the story of immigrants in America isn't a story of
"them, it's a story of us. It's who we are. And now, all of you get to write
the next chapter."
He noted that "as we remain a nation of laws, we have to remain a nation of
immigrants. And that's why, as another step forward, we're lifting the shadow
of deportation from serving, from deserving young people who were brought to
this country as children."
"It's why we still need a dream act, to keep talented young people who want
to contribute to our society and serve our country. It's why we need, why
America's success demands, comprehensive immigration reform," he remarked.
Obama hosted similar naturalization ceremonies at the White House in May
2009 and April 2010.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas
presented the countries of the candidates for naturalization, whereas
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano delivered the oath of
A White House statement said earlier that other Senior Administration
Officials will also be speaking at naturalization ceremonies around the
Obama also hosted later a picnic on the South Lawn of the White House for
military families marking Independence Day during which he said in his remarks
"as your Commander-in-Chief, but also as an American, I want to invite all of
you over to say one thing: thank you."
He affirmed "all the men and women who stand with us here this afternoon
are an example of this generation of heroes, this 9/11 Generation that has
earned its place in history alongside the greatest generations."
"Because of your service and sacrifice, all of our troops are now out of
Iraq. Because of your service and sacrifice, we took the fight to Al-Qaeda and
we brought Osama bin Laden to justice. Because of your service and sacrifice,
we're transitioning out of Afghanistan. We will remain ready for any threat.
That is all because of you," he stressed.
"As long as I have the honor of being your Commander-in-Chief, I want you
all; our men and women in uniform, our veterans and their families; to know
this: America will always remember. We will always be there for you, just as
you've been there for us. That's my promise. That is America's promise. And
that is one that we pledge to fulfill on this Independence Day," Obama