Forty-five people celebrated their newly minted American citizenship Friday morning at the District Court of Guam.
One of them, Ryan Jimmy, a member of the Guam National Guard since 2017, appeared in full uniform as he received his Certificate of Naturalization and posed for photographs with peers.
There are many reasons why Jimmy – who has lived on Guam for a little over 10 years – wanted to become a citizen. But a major reason was his work in the Guard.
"In the military, it is required to be a citizen to get a clearance for deployments and such," Jimmy said.
Other than that, Jimmy pointed to America itself.
"We've been living here for years ... and I like the freedom, the rights we have here," he added.
Originally from Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, Jimmy was joined by his wife during Friday's naturalization ceremony. He also has children, who are already citizens. The next step is to obtain citizenship for his wife, he said.
Rear admiral: My mom took same oath 40 years ago
Rear Adm. John Menoni served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
"You weren't born a citizen like I was. You made a conscious choice to being a fellow citizen, and for that I thank you. I will always thank you," Menoni said.
"We must never forget that we're a nation of immigrants – we all are," he added. "I know this all too well."
A woman among the crowd of new citizens gave the number 1014611189 as Menoni mentioned a quiz. This was his mother's naturalization number, he revealed.
"My mom sat in an audience like this ... about 40 years ago in a ceremony very similar to this in Chicago, Illinois. She spoke the same words you just spoke. She gave the same oath of allegiance and the same pledge of allegiance," Menoni said.
"She did that because she wanted to be part of a country that defines itself by the guarantee of individual rights. That has unlimited opportunities for its children to be whatever they want. She said to me often ... that she truly wanted to be a citizen of a country that is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave," he added.
The new citizens hailed from Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Federated States of Micronesia and the Philippines – representing the vast majority of the group.