A previous Naturalization Ceremony at Bandelier National Monument. Courtesy/NPS Photo
For Americans, July 4th is traditionally a day to celebrate freedom and independence. For the sixth year, Bandelier National Monument is proud to partner with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to host a naturalization ceremony at the park on that day.
Fourteen 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 Izraelevitz, himself an immigrant (at age 11 from Uruguay) and Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott, as well as Michele Jacquez-Ortiz representing U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, Dave Nezzie representing U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, and Nicholas Maestas representing U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján. Alicia Solomon, noted soloist with the Santa Fe Opera, Symphony, and Desert Chorale, will sing the National Anthem.
The Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office will give the candidates the opportunity to register as voters, Scouts from Troop 129 in White Rock will be the Color Guard, 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 a.m., and the last run returns to White Rock at 5 p.m. from Bandelier.
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.