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Mount Rushmore National Memorial Welcomes New Citizens

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

National Park News

They came in burqas, traditional dress, suits, and U.S. military uniforms, 111 candidates for naturalization.  On Flag Day, June 14, Mount Rushmore National Memorial hosted a naturalization ceremony for new American citizens.  For some it was a family affair with both husband and wife becoming citizens, for others taking the oath of allegiance was the final commitment to a country in which they were already providing military service.  From 38 countries, each new citizen marched across the stage to announce their name, some providing country of origin while others proudly proclaimed they were now an American.  Qusi Al-Haj, West River Regional Director for South Dakota Senator John Thune, provided the keynote address.  Mr. Al-Haj noted that it was 21 years to the day that he received his citizenship at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  Following the ceremony, the new citizens were invited to register to vote, provided passport information for their new country, and were invited to a reception in their honor.  One new citizen in his military fatigues also held a new Military Passport ready to explore his new national parks.  The Mount Rushmore Society sponsored the event partnering with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, the United States District Court, the Pennington County Auditor’s Office and the Minneapolis Passport Agency. 


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