Participants at the July 4, 2013 Naturalization Ceremony at Bandelier National Monument. Courtesy/NPS Photo
July 4th is traditionally a day when Americans celebrate freedom and independence.
For the fourth year, Bandelier National Monument is proud to partner with the United States Citizenship and Naturalization Services to host a naturalization ceremony at the park on that day. Eighteen candidates from nine countries, after working for years to fulfill their requirements, will be taking the oath and becoming the newest citizens of the United States. They come from China, France, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, the Phillipines, South Korea, Ukraine and Vietnam.
The ceremony begins at noon behind the Bandelier Visitor Center. Keynote speakers will be noted author, poet, music teacher, and Los Alamos Living Treasure Stephanie Sydoriak, herself an immigrant (from Ukraine); and Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott. In addition, Michele Jacquez-Ortiz also will be speaking, representing New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation.
Alicia Solomon, noted soloist with the Santa Fe Opera, Symphony, and Desert Chorale, will sing the National Anthem. Eagle Scouts from Troop 129 will parade the colors, the Rotary Club will provide refreshments, and there will be flags, gifts, and flowers for the new citizens.
Members of the Herrera Family Dancers from Cochiti Pueblo will present traditional dances, providing a link with the early inhabitants of the area. Through the day Bandelier also will be hosting a demonstration of traditional Santa Clara Pueblo pottery by Sharon Garcia of Santa Clara Pueblo.
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 fourth year, Atomic City Transit is supporting the event by providing buses especially 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 from Bandelier at 5 p.m. to White Rock.
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 BandelierNPS, and Twitter.