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The Revolution Today: Citizenship
George Washington may have worn a plain suit after giving up his command and becoming a common citizen, but some U.S. soldiers have worn the uniform while taking the oath of ...

The Revolution Today: Citizenship

George Washington may have worn a plain suit after giving up his command and becoming a common citizen, but some U.S. soldiers have worn the uniform while taking the oath of citizenship.

Twenty-seven U.S. servicemen and servicewomen serving in Afghanistan celebrated the nation’s 230th birthday in a unique way on July 4, 2006. These soldiers, who had been serving on America’s front lines in the war on terrorism, became U.S. citizens.

“Today, these fine soldiers will be unified as Americans,” Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, the coalition Joint Task Force 76 commander, stated proudly during the ceremony.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government streamlined the process for permanent residents serving as soldiers to become U.S. citizens. By 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had conducted more than one hundred fifty Fourth of July ceremonies for more than eighteen thousand men, women, and children in the United States including military members overseas.

Becoming a citizen is unique. It is made even more special when the new citizen is part of the Armed Services.

“The soldiers here who are about to become citizens already understand they have a unique responsibility, and that is the defense of the nation,” said Freakley. “The citizen who is a soldier has to do more for the nation than other citizens, because the citizens of America count on (them) to defend her and make sure that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are guaranteed for all Americans. Thousands of immigrant soldiers are making extraordinary sacrifices for America in the war on terror.”

For one new citizen, the ceremony that day was a childhood dream and a homecoming of sorts. Army Specialist Ahmed John came to America with his family from Afghanistan when he was ten. Becoming an American citizen had been a long-time dream. His deployment to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army was the first time he had been in the country of his birth since his migration years earlier.

“I came back to Afghanistan to protect my native land and also to defend my homeland the United States of America,” John said. “The United States has offered me so many opportunities I would not have had anywhere else, so I would not hesitate to give my life for my new country. I love the United States.”

“As a nation that gives to others, we also like our citizens to be part of that ethic of giving to others. Clearly you are already demonstrating that by serving your nation in uniform. I wish you prosperity, health and happiness as Americans, and I hope that you will contribute to the nation, as you are already, throughout your entire life,” Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley told the new citizens.

Here on earth, citizenship in a country is important. But citizenship in heaven is eternal. It doesn’t require paperwork or years of bureaucracy. It simply requires an oath from the heart to the Savior.

Prayer

I raise my right hand to salute you, and to pledge my allegiance to you and my acceptance of your Son, Jesus Christ.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”

(Philippians 3:20).


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