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Naturalization ceremony is a dream come true for young soldiers

FORT SILL, Okla._For Independence Day this year, a group of Fort Sill soldiers got the gift they've always dreamed of, becoming a U.S. citizen.

A naturalization ceremony was held on post to make nine soldiers who have completed basic training officially Americans. The ceremony was part of the battery's basic training graduation festivities.

It's something most of us probably take for granted...being a United States citizen. For these nine young soldiers, Tuesday was the day their dream finally came true.

"I don't think any words can describe how it feels."

"It was great and I was really proud of myself."

"It means a lot to me to be recognized as a U.S. citizen."

Just days from the Fourth of July, Independence Day will always hold a much deeper meaning to them. Sangsoo Kwen says though he came to America ten years ago from South Korea, Tuesday is the day he finally starts his new journey.

"I tend to talk like an American, I tend to act like an American. And without citizenship here it feels like you're an outcast," said Kwen.

That's one of the reasons many of these soldiers joined the Army, to be a part of something in the country they have come to call their own.

Zhimg Liu came from China almost five years ago. He feels a new sense of responsibility comes with the oath he took.

"I just had the American dream of suburban life. You know, the lifestyle I always wanted," said Liu.

For Kay Khine, she came to America for more opportunities. She is already a doctor in Maymar but wants to be a surgeon here in the U.S.

"I want to challenge myself physically and mentally. I tried my best during basic training and then I got an honor. So I'm pretty proud of myself," said Khine.

They all have big plans for the future and hope their experience in the Army will help them reach their goals.

"I believe it's the turning point and a new starting point in my life. I mean just to become a citizen means a lot to me and from here on I can build up my new profile. I basically call myself a newborn baby," said Kwen.

All three soldiers say their parents were unable to attend the ceremony, but knew that their parents were the proudest they've ever been. The nine soldiers will graduate from basic training Wednesday morning, from there they will go on to different posts across the country for Advanced Individual Training.

These Fort Sill soldiers are just part of 9,000 people who will become naturalized U.S. citizens from June 30 to July 4 at 100 different ceremonies across the nation.


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