The Dallas Morning News reported recently on the naturalization of a group of soldiers who have been fast tracked to US citizenship because of their service to this country in a time of war. More than 700 foreign-born individuals have been granted the Medal of Honor, the highest award our country offers for people who exhibit bravery in their military service. Lance Corporal Paul Deba Mango, an Ivory Coast native, is one of the soldiers in that group and I chose him today as a representative of the nearly 20,000 non-US citizens currently serving in active duty in the US military branches. And that number is likely to grow as a result of a new program encouraging translators and health care workers to join the military.
The meaning of this ceremony to the soldier was stated well by Mango:
I am born again.
Congratulations Lance Corporal Mango.