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This afternoon the President attended a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House, along with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who delivered the oath of allegiance. It was a meaningful moment to reflect on what it means to be an American.
The President also presented the Outstanding American by Choice award to Peter Lemon, whose amazing story you can read along with the names of all of the new American citizens in the background to the event
You all have your own stories of how you came to this country. And you all have your own personal reasons for why you joined the military. But in the service that you render, in the sacrifices that each of you have made and will continue to make, in the commitment you've shown to your adopted nation, you're part of a larger story -- America's story.
For more than two centuries, this nation has been a beacon of hope and opportunity -- a place that has drawn enterprising men and women from around the world who have sought to build a life as good as their talents and their hard work would allow. And generation after generation of immigrants have come to these shores because they believe that in America all things are possible.
So you are not only living examples of that promise; you're also serving to defend that promise for future generations. And your service reminds all of us that much of the strength of this country is drawn from those who have chosen to call it home. It's not lost on me or anybody here today that at a time when we face an economic crisis born in many ways of irresponsibility, there are those who are actively pursuing greater responsibility.