What sweeter place to welcome new citizens than Yosemite’s Half Dome?
The people gathering at Yosemite’s Glacier Point on Thursday morning won’t be your typical hikers and tourists. Forty-two people from 15 countries will stand before one of the park’s most spectacular views of Half Dome to pledge their allegiance to the U.S., becoming the country’s newest citizens.
Judge Jeremy Peterson, the magistrate for the U.S. District Court in Yosemite Valley, will swear them in. Park Superintendent Michael Reynolds will appear, and the park’s mounted patrol will act as color guards, a news release Wednesday said. And afterward, apple pie will be served.
Since 2006, national parks have served as memorable landscapes for naturalization ceremonies organized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“These ceremonies have brought America’s next generation of immigrants to the natural, historical and cultural treasures that tell the American story,” Michael Connor, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior wrote on the agency’s blog in 2016.
In the last few months, naturalization ceremonies have taken place amid the cactuses at Arizona’s Saguaro National Park and at Roosevelt Arch, built in 1903, at the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California held its 10th ceremony this month. Twenty-six people raised their hands and took the oath.
In August, Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in New York held its first citizenship ceremony. Acting Superintendent Catherine Bragaw told new citizens, “As we stood on the same ground where Harriet Tubman once stood, we were immersed in her dream of freedom and equality. Her dream lives on.”
In its 100th year, the National Park Service hosted 100 such ceremonies in parks such as the Grand Canyon, the Everglades and Harpers Ferry in West Virginia.
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