Amid Yosemite's beauty, 64 become citizens

June 27, 2013 

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With American flags flying, 65 people were sworn in as new U.S. citizens Thursday during a naturalization ceremony at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. This special ceremony commemorates Independence Day. The diverse group of newly naturalized citizens hails from around the world, including Mexico, Fiji, Cambodia, Russia and Guatemala. The new citizens were joined by family and friends.

MARK CROSSE — THE FRESNO BEE

— With a spectacular view of Half Dome as a backdrop on a sun-drenched Thursday morning, 64 people hailing from 13 countries became U.S. citizens. They collectively took their oaths of allegiance to the United States during a ceremony at the Glacier Point amphitheater at Yosemite National Park.

Three live in Modesto, one in Patterson and two in Merced. Of the 64, 41 are from Mexico. Others came from Europe, Central and South America, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, India and Africa.

Representatives from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offered remarks — urging the new Americans to exercise their voting rights — and administered the oath. Park Superintendent Don Neubacher pointed to Yosemite's grandeur and told them that as Americans, "You're going to own, in a sense, Yosemite National Park," imploring them to "protect it for all generations to come."

Yosemite's mounted patrol provided the presentation of the colors for the event. This was the fourth time the national park has hosted the naturalization ceremony.

Bee columnist Jeff Jardine attended the ceremony and will feature some of their stories on Sunday.

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