July 4 is traditionally a day when Americans celebrate freedom and independence.
For the ninth year, Bandelier National Monument is proud to partner with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to host a naturalization ceremony in the park on that day. 20 candidates from many countries, 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., in the Bandelier Visitor Center Theater in Frijoles Canyon. Supervisory Immigration Services Officer, Alice Jacqueline Puccetti, will officiate along with Deputy Director, Mr. Mario R. Ortiz and the Field Office Director, Mr. Jesse Mendez. The ceremony includes an address by Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott.
Many members of the community make the ceremony possible, including Rotary, refreshments; well-known local singer Alicia Solomon, the National Anthem; Flowers by Gillian, flowers for the candidates; Western National Parks Association, gift bags; and Atomic City Transit, extra buses. The Candelaria family from San Felipe Pueblo will present traditional dances, and will demonstrate Pueblo crafts.
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.
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 from Bandelier at 5 p.m.
For more details about the Naturalization Ceremony or other information about Bandelier National Monument, contact the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517 or visit www.nps.gov/band, on Facebook, BandelierNPS.