NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – The United States gained 17 new citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Tyron Palace in New Bern Friday.
“You really gain an appreciation for what they have to do to become U.S. citizens,” said Craig Ramey, Tyron Palace’s director of public affairs.
The new citizens came from all over the world, and some are already working in the military, like Demian Ehizenaye from Nigeria.
“I feel like I’m more of a protector of achieving the freedom and being a true soldier that I am,” Ehizanaye said.
Others, like Soohuin Kim from Korea, will be able to join their families in the country they fight for. He husband has served for 18 years, and she said the day means everything to them.
“It feels like it’s celebrating us,” Kim said.
Although a part of the paperwork asked Kim if she wanted to change her name, she decided to keep it as a reminder of her culture and family.
“I asked my husband, ‘Do you mind…(if I) keep my original name?” Kim said. “My husband totally understands, and I can keep my name.”
The couple will continue to celebrate more Veterans Days together for years to come.
“I want to be a great Korean who (will) do a great job as a U.S. citizen in America,” Kim said.
Since 2001, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have naturalized more than 100,000 members of the military around the world.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, head to their website.