Becoming American Citizens at the National Parks

New Americans take their oaths amid the national treasure.

A naturalization ceremony in Grand Canyon (Photo by: Michael Quinn)

While everyone else is busy singing America the Beautiful, rangers at Biscayne National Park in Florida and staff from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sneak to the back of the crowd. They unfurl a 30-by-60-foot American flag, passing it forward over the heads of the 150 people who have just taken the oath of citizenship. It envelops everyone, together, under the red, white, and blue. “It’s very cool,” says Ranger Gary Bremen, “and very moving.”

Since 2006, the NPS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have worked together to host naturalization ceremonies in the national parks for thousands of new Americans. “I can’t think of places more appropriate to welcome a new generation of American citizens than our country’s national parks,” says NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis.

Neither can we.