Local Residents To Become US Citizens On Fourth Of July

A previous year's Naturalization Ceremony at Bandelier National Monument. Courtesy/NPS

Local Residents To Become US Citizens On Fourth Of July

For Americans, July 4th is traditionally a day to celebrate freedom and independence. And for several local residents and their families, this year’s July 4th will be particularly special.

Over a dozen northern New Mexico residents who have been working to earn their citizenship will achieve that goal this Wednesday, July 4th at a naturalization ceremony at Bandelier National Monument.

For the sixth year, Bandelier National Monument is partnering with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to host a naturalization ceremony at the park on that day. Sixteen candidates, after working for years to fulfill their requirements, will be taking the oath and becoming the newest citizens of the United States.  

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. behind the Bandelier Visitor Center. Every year this event involves a wide variety of people, local, state, tribal, and federal, working together to welcome these new citizens into our national community. This year speakers will be Los Alamos County Council Chair David Israelevitz, himself an immigrant (at age 11 from Uruguay) and Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott, as well as Michele Jacquez-Ortiz representing US Senator Tom Udall, Dave Nezzie representing US Senator Martin Heinrich and Nicholas Maestas representing US Congressman Ben Ray Lujan.  

Alicia Solomon, noted soloist with the Santa Fe Opera, Symphony, and Desert Chorale, will sing the National Anthem. The County Clerk’s Office will give the candidates the opportunity to register as voters, Scouts from the Boy Scout Troop 129 will parade the Colors, and the Los Alamos Rotary Club will provide refreshments. 

There will be gift packets provided by Western National Parks Association (the Bandelier bookstore), flowers from Flowers by Gillian, and each candidate will be presented with an American flag which has been flown over the United States Capitol, courtesy of Bandelier National Monument. Members of the Herrera Family Dancers from Cochiti Pueblo will present traditional dances, providing a link with the early inhabitants of the area.  

The ceremony is not reserved for just the candidates and their families; members of the public are welcome to attend and perhaps take this opportunity to reaffirm their own commitments as American citizens.

For the sixth year Atomic City Transit is supporting the event by providing special bus runs for the participants, as well as the regular shuttle buses for park visitors. Because parking is extremely limited in the Bandelier Visitor Center area, everyone wishing to attend must catch the free park shuttles from the White Rock Visitor Center. Buses depart every 20 minutes beginning at 9 AM, and the last run returns to White Rock from Bandelier at 5 p.m.

For more information on the Naturalization Ceremony or other activities at Bandelier National Monument, call the park Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517.

The monument also has a website, www.nps.gov/band, Facebook page at BandelierNPS, and Twitter.