Troops Become US Citizens On Election Day

November 5, 2008

U.S. Army soldiers raise their right hands as they take the oath, in front of a giant American flag, during a ceremony in the al-Faw palace, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. More than 200 service members received, Tuesday, their U.S. citizenship. U.S. President Bush signed an Executive Order allowing all active-duty immigrants in the Armed Forces to apply for U.S. citizenship without waiting the standard three years. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

For many of us, who were born in the United States, we often take our citizenship and the responsibilities that go along with it for granted. Take voting for instance. Many citizens don’t ever bother to register to vote, or if they are registered, often they don’t vote. Many use the excuse, “Well my vote doesn’t matter anyway.” For almost 200 Troops currently serving in Iraq, Election Day 2008 was a very special day for them. It’s the day that they took the oath to become citizens of the United States of America. Even though they won’t have the opportunity to vote in this election, because they became citizens too late to register to vote, I’m sure many of them will take that responsibility quite seriously the first time they’re able to vote.

In total, there were 186 men and women hailing from 60 different countries across the globe, who stood proudly in their ACU’s underneath a giant US Flag, as they took their citizenship oath in Saddam’s old Al Faw Palace which is located on Camp Victory near the Baghdad Airport.1

“Diverse as your backgrounds may be, you all now have one thing in common: you are all Americans,” the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, said. “You represent the very best of all that our nation stands for: freedom, opportunity, equality and service.”


Following the ceremony, each Soldier was able to shake hands with General Odierno as well as the US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, before they received their citizenship certificate and a folded US Flag. The Soldiers all said that they are looking forward to being able to vote in their first election as US citizens.

“If something good comes out of a future election, I can say I had something to do with that. It’s like my voice is being heard now,” said McKoy, who was born in the West Indies, Jamaica and joined the Army in December 2002.

Spc. Rasha Hennessy, from the 1st Higher Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 206th Field Artillery, 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, was born in Baghdad not far from where she took her oath.

“Honestly, I can’t even think of how blessed I am to have this privilege,” she said. “It’s a great thing.”


This is a great occasion for each of these Soldiers and their decision to become US Citizens, I’m sure took much thought on their part. They’re already serving our Country in our country’s Armed Forces, so they’ve already shown their loyalty and pride in serving our country. While they weren’t able to vote in Tuesday’s election, I’m sure the majority of them will proudly register to vote once they return to the United States after their deployment. I’m sure it was a momentous day for them, and we should be proud of them for the choices they have made.

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One Response to “Troops Become US Citizens On Election Day”

  1. Troops Become US Citizens On Election Day on November 5th, 2008 2:14 am

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