As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
On this November 11th, let us not forget these words by President Kennedy as we remember our veterans, the men and women who courageously served our country. Many have given their life so that our democratic values live on. The majority of our veterans were young men and women when they served and they lived a lifetime in a short period of time because the battlefield ages the youth.
I wonder how many know that in 2009, there were over 114,000 military personnel serving in our armed forces that were born in another country. This means that 8 percent of 1.4 million individuals on active duty were foreign-born. And of these, 81 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens and about 13 percent are not yet United States citizens.
According to the Immigration Policy Center, in 2010, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted U.S. citizenship to 11,146 members of the U.S. armed forces. This is the highest number of military personnel that were naturalized since 1955.
The United States values our men and women on active duty. And if you are an eligible permanent resident in the military, there is no fee is required for applicants filing for U.S. Citizenship under Section 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). Section 328 applies to all members of the U.S. armed forces currently on active duty or those who have been honorably discharged and section 329 applies to those who serve during a period of hostility.
The freedoms we cherish are not free. They all come at a cost. Honor our veterans, not just on this day, but always.
We thank all those who served and are still serving.