10 Alaskan Residents Become Citizens on Constitution, Citizenship Day

September 17th is Citizenship Day and Constitution Day. For 10 Alaskan residents, it was literally citizenship day, as they became naturalized citizens today.


by Michele White

ANCHORAGE-September 17th is Citizenship Day and Constitution Day.

For 10 Alaskan residents, it was literally citizenship day, as they became naturalized citizens today. 

They came from Germany, the Dominican Republic, Macedonia, Bhuton, Colombia, England, Senegal, Venezuela, Peru and Mexico.

Officers from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Anchorage field office presented the naturalization ceremony at Romig Middle School in Anchorage.

Romig's own U.S. History teacher Anaely Hernandez, who comes from Venezuela, was one of the naturalized citizens sworn in today.

"I'd been here since I was very young, and so, I had a visa, and I was able to stay here," says Natalia Aulenbacher, from Zweibrueken, Germany, "The only thing I wasn't able to do was vote or...be president.  For me, I didn't want to lose the German citizenship until I knew I could retain both, so, for me to get the U.S. citizenship today, it's more been kind of a long thing coming."

For the student body of Romig Middle School, it was a front-seat civics lesson.

The choir sang.  The jazz band played and the students danced.

Some of the newly naturalized Americans were too emotional to speak.

It was a bittersweet day for Anahis Porras, who is originally from Mexico.

"I'm very excited, actually, for becoming a U.S. Citizen," she said, "I'm a little saddened because my husband currently is serving our country and he's in Afghanistan and he wasn't here to be with me and... my children, celebrating with us...today, that I actually became a citizen."

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski sent a personalized video message to her new constituents and President Obama recorded a video message to Americans who were sworn in as citizens today.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day are commemorated every year on September 17th in honor of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. 

In 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill to formalize the celebration of Citizenship Day.

In 2004, Congress established September 17th as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

The 10 Alaskans who were sworn in as American citizens today join more than 18 thousand people who will become U.S. citizens during approximately 180 naturalization ceremonies across the country this week.

In Anchorage, for these 10 newly naturalized American citizens, it was a very emotional day, on an appropriate day -- the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.


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